For decades religious and ethical tensions have lingered between Christian and Hindu tribal groups in Manipur, India. In early May, a response to protests turned violent, and an eruption of rioting, mob brutality, and arson broke out. Since then,
100+ Men, women, and children have been killed,
35,000+ Christians are now displaced,
350+ Churches have been burned or destroyed
2,000+ Homes have been left unlivable, and most burned to ashes.
And while the world’s head has turned from the initial crises, the numbers are still rising.
Hindu Meitei leaders have stated that living among Christians is “as good as death”; therefore, tribes of believers have been primarily targeted and evicted from their land and homes by the masses.
Faced with the ultimate decision to burn their bibles and convert or face extreme physical persecution or death, families continue to flee with what little they can carry. Often this is their children and any immediate medical supply they need.
Hiding out in the woods for immediate refuge from violent attacks and continuing their journey to safety has led to well over 35,000 displaced individuals entering refugee camps for shelter, food, and medical supplies.
These refugee camps are not capable of hosting such large and growing numbers of fleeing Christians. As members of our Crisis and Conflict team work relentlessly to provide aid and support for these camps, it is evident that the conditions are only increasingly getting worse.
“We are helpless and voiceless amid this persecution. We give them food when they are hungry; we provide them with water when they are thirsty, and we share the Good News (the Gospel) when they needed the most. Today, in return, they attacked us, tortured us, raped us, and killed us. However, we still keep on praying for our enemies because Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)
Response shared with our team in Manipur.
These families have chosen to follow Christ at a high cost, one we often hope to never face.
We have a call to step into these moments alongside our persecuted brothers and sisters. We have the duty to encourage them and stand firm in prayer for them and their country’s unrest.
Let us stand faith-filled in the Lord as a beacon of hope in this way that they may one day say, like Paul
“For this reason, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we have been reassured about you because of your faith. For now, we can go on living, as long as you are standing firm in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3: 7-8
The above data is likely to change in a few hours or in a few days to come because the situation right now is not at all controlled.