Archbishop Calls for Prayer and Fasting to Mark One Year of Unrest in Manipur

Archbishop Linus Neli calls for a 3-day fast and prayer for reconciliation and peace in Manipur, India, on the one-year anniversary of ethnic clashes that killed hundreds and displaced 60,000. The Catholic Church has been involved in humanitarian efforts, peace dialogue, and prayer for a solution to the ongoing unrest.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Archbishop Calls for Prayer and Fasting to Mark One Year of Unrest in Manipur

Archbishop Calls for Prayer and Fasting to Mark One Year of Unrest in Manipur

Archbishop Linus Neli of Imphal in Manipur, India, has called for a 3-day intense fast and prayer for reconciliation and peace in the state from May 3-5, 2024. The appeal comes on the one-year anniversary of an ethnic clash between the Meitei people and Kuki people in May 2023, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds and the displacement of 60,000 people.

Why this matters: The ongoing unrest in Manipur highlights the deep-seated ethnic and religious tensions that can lead to devastating consequences if left unchecked. As the region struggles to find lasting peace, the world is reminded of the importance of promoting interfaith dialogue and reconciliation in the face ofconflict.

The conflict was triggered by an affirmative action controversy over a special status for Meitei Hindus, leading to protests by Christian Kukis. Ethnic violence has been a long-standing problem in Manipur state, with 700 people killed in 1993 and a year and a half taken to restore normalcy. The current situation remains tense, with hundreds of people still living in relief camps under undesirable conditions.

In his appeal, Archbishop Neli emphasized the need for persistent prayer, stating, "Let us persistently pray for the day when people of all ethnicities and religious communities can live together peacefully in this beautiful land of Manipur." He urged people to intensify their prayers for genuine reconciliation and peace with justice among all fellow human beings, quoting Isaiah 57:18-19: "It is our firm confidence that God will hear our prayers and heal our land, guide and comfort our people, and give peace to those who are far away and peace to those who are near."

The Catholic Church in Manipur has been actively involved in humanitarian interventions, peace dialogue, and prayer for a solution. Archbishop Neli has been visiting affected communities and vandalized churches, offering prayers and support. He stated, "I tell my people: Pray for peace and reconciliation; do not give up hope... But the instruments to Peace are very weak... The agents of peace needs to be strengthened and we need positive action from the State Government and other authorities. I pray for God's strength and enlightenment."

Manipur state has a population of 2.8 million, with Meitei people making up 53%, Naga people 24%, and Chin-Kuki-Mizo people 16%. Hindus and Christians each make up about 41% of the population, while Muslims account for just over 8%. The All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO) has also called for collective prayer to address the persistent unrest. Approximately 369 churches and numerous temples were destroyed during the crisis.

As Manipur marksone yearsince the outbreak of ethnic violence, the call for prayer and fasting by Archbishop Linus Neli underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the state's diverse communities. With hundreds still displaced and tensions simmering, the path to lasting peace and reconciliation remains arduous. The Catholic Church and other religious organizations continue to play a vital role in providing support, fostering dialogue, and working towards a resolution to theconflictthat has left an indelible mark on Manipur.

Key Takeaways

  • Archbishop Linus Neli calls for 3-day fast and prayer for peace in Manipur, India.
  • One-year anniversary of ethnic clash between Meitei and Kuki people, resulting in hundreds of deaths and 60,000 displaced.
  • Ongoing unrest highlights deep-seated ethnic and religious tensions in the region.
  • Catholic Church in Manipur involved in humanitarian interventions, peace dialogue, and prayer for a solution.
  • Path to lasting peace and reconciliation remains arduous, with hundreds still displaced and tensions simmering.