by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – At least six people were killed and 25 churches burned down during Hindu nationalist violence in India’s Manipur state this month, Christian Headlines (CH) reports.
This month’s church burnings in Manipur were the result of growing Hindu nationalism within the state’s majority Meite population, Christian leaders told Christianity Today. Manipur is on India’s border with Myanmar and has diverse communities, including tribal, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. Ethnic violence has been breaking out over resources and economic interests, but Church leaders say that the attacks on Christians were fueled by religious hatred.
“In this pogrom, the Hindu Meiteis not only burned down churches belonging to tribals but also churches that exclusively belong to Meitei Christians,” Ngaineilam Haokip, a Manipur native who is an academic at a university in Kolkata, told Christianity Today. “They targeted their own brethren who follow Christ by burning their churches.”
“If this is not a pogrom, what is? There is definitely a religious angle here,” a local Christian leader identified only as Lien for security reasons told Christianity Today.
Ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party since 2014, India ranks 11th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted: before the BJP came to power, India had ranked 31 on the Open Doors List.
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