Photo above: Members of the Interfaith Forum for Peace and Harmony, Manipur presenting their memorandum to the Governor of Manipur, Anusuiya Uikey
MPI alumnus Deben Bachaspatimayum shared with us the press release from the Interfaith Forum for Peace and Harmony, Manipur, below regarding an appeal to the President of India in relation to the violence in Manipur, India. According to the BBC:
Violence in Manipur began in May following protests by indigenous communities - primarily the Kukis - against the demand seeking tribal status for the Meiteis.
Since then people from both communities have attacked each other's homes, vehicles, churches, and temples, officials say.
The clashes have resulted in the complete segregation of the Kuki and Meitei communities in the state.
Dated: 14th July 2023
A collective of interfaith forum leaderships submitted a memorandum to the president of India through the Governor of Manipur, Anusuiya Uikey, today, at Raj Bhawan. The 5-point memorandum appealed the President of India to 1) end the ongoing ethnic violence and hate campaigns on both sides, 2) ensure unhindered flow of goods and passengers on all national highways to reach relief materials to all equally, 3) ensure sense of security on all the national highways linking the state with rest of India and neighboring country, 4) ensure equal and quality food and health care to all inmates in reliefs camps across the state and 5) take initiatives for inclusive and sustained dialogue processes at civil society levels.
During the meeting the governor appreciated the efforts of the interfaith forum in reaching out and reconnecting peoples across the divides caused by the violence. She also encouraged the interfaith forum leaders to visit relief camps across the communities on healing mission while stating that the victims; women and children in particular are innocent people who bear the burden of the violence. The Governor also supported Interfaith forum's campaign for ending violence and dialogue initiative.
Earlier on 13th July, the interfaith forum had taken out a huge rally at Palace compound appealing the state and central government to end violence and initiative dialogue. A large of number people, approximately around 500, belonging to diverse religious/faith traditions, ethnic and spiritual communities actively participated in the rally, expressing their voices against the continuing violence, for saving lives and humanity, and initiatives for dialogue etc.
Interfaith forum came into being as an outcome of the ongoing violent conflict which has effectively divided the society almost beyond recovery and made all leaders in different religious/faith communities helpless by the raging ethnic violence. The forum was founded by a group of concerned religious leaders of Manipur who came together on 5th June 2023 at the premise of Manipur Cultural Integration Conference along with Archbishop of Guwahati, Thomas Menamparampil who came to express his solidarity his solidarity with people who were suffering as victims of the ethnic violence.
Members of the forum comprises of 1) All Manipur Buddhists Assn, 2) All Manipur Christian Orgn, 3) Art of Living, Manipur, 4) Bhakti Seva Lub/Ekta Parishad, 5) Brahmakumari Manipur, 6) Catholic Diocese Imphal, 7) Divine Life Society, Manipur, 8) Federation of Madrasahs, Manipur, 9) International Society of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, 10) International Society of Krishna Consciousness, Manipur, 11) Jain Samaj, Manipur, 12) Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Manipur, 13) Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple Board, 14) Mahatma Seva Ashram, Manipur, 15) Manipur Baptist Convention, 16) Meitei Christian Church Council Manipur, 17) Manipur Cultural Integration Conference, 18) Naga Christian Forum Manipur 19), Rongmei Naga Baptist Association, 20) Tinkao Ragwang Chapriak, Phom (ANM), etc.