Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, calls for ending violence in Manipur

“IOC leadership is concerned about the alarming situation in Manipur where our Christian community has suddenly suffered due to the burning of 25 churches and 500 homes. In addition, 50 innocent people have been killed in the violence. This must stop immediately. Peace must prevail to assure the safety, security, and well-being of all the people in the area,” said Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress.

“In India, community harmony and respect for our diversity of religion, race, caste, and customs are the bedrock of our democracy. It is unfortunate that the very foundation of our great civilization is being attacked with polarized / divisive propaganda and politics by a limited group of vested interests. Our sympathies are with the people of Manipur and the families and friends of the people affected by this violence and tragedy,” added Mr. Pitroda.

“We express our strongest condemnation of all forms of violence which can have no place in a civilized society,” said George Abraham, Vice-Chair of the Indian Overseas Congress, USA. It is the repeat of the same BJP strategy of exploiting differences targeting minority communities to gain political advantage, and it is carried out recklessly to the detriment of the constitution and the secular fabric of the nation,” Mr. Abraham added.

Manipur borders Myanmar and is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, including Meiteis, who are a numerical majority in the state and are predominantly Hindu, and various tribal communities, who are largely Christian.

While area leaders believe that the violence was largely a reaction to certain political decisions as regards reservation, they see its viciousness and severity, particularly the attack on churches, as the growth of the influence of  Radical Hindutva ideology which has struggled to find a foothold in Manipur because of its mix of tribal, Hindu, Christian, and Muslim communities. Christian leaders from the area believed this violence was religiously motivated.

On April 11,  as per press reports, three Christian churches were also bulldozed by the BJP-ruled government in Manipur, where forty-one percent of the population is Christian. Unfortunately, prime minister Modi who paid a visit to the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Delhi on Easter Sunday, has, so far, not commented on the reports of Hindutva organizations targeting churches and pastors in various parts of the country.

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