Indian Christians Say The Government Is Inciting Violence Against Them

( — Christians in the northern Indian region of Manipur accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging violence against them. Religious conflict in the area has been raging for weeks as Christians endure mob attacks that have displaced thousands. The fighting erupted when the Hindu Meitei people petitioned the government to be awarded the status of “Scheduled Tribe,” which brings extra land rights. The Christian Kukis organized a protest against the designation that attracted 50,000 people.

The Meitei retaliated by burning dozens of churches in a week of clashes that left 62 dead and drove thousands from their homes.

The state of Manipur is occupied by the Meitei majority, which is Hindu, and a variety of other tribes who are mostly Christian. The tribes believe that the Meitei have too much power and that they have been courted by the Hindu nationalist Modi who is seeking support in the region. Khuraijam Athouba, a politician in the state, said, “The tribal and non-tribal groups have had a history of jealousy over the distribution of economic resources and opportunities, but this time their anger just could not be contained.”

Having stayed relatively silent on the escalating conflict, Prime Minister Modi eventually deployed the country’s Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Manipur on May 29th. The move was welcomed by Kukis, but they maintained the accusation that the government in New Dehli had “tacitly” supported the Hindu Meitei.

The charity Global Christian Relief suggests that the Kukis are correct in their assessment. The organization said that anti-Christian violence in India is increasing and antagonists are so sure they won’t be punished, that they film themselves attacking churches and post the videos online. David Curry, CEO of the charity, said anti-Christian attacks are often portrayed as sectarian conflicts in the media, with no mention of the anti-Christian element. He states that since the Hindu government of Narendra Modi came to power, assaults on Christians have risen by 300%.

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