Kuki Christian Genocide by the Meitei “valley people” in Imphal City, Manipur, in 2023
The Kuki tribe is one of the ethnic minority groups residing in the hills of Manipur in Northeastern India. They live among other tribes and people groups like the Meitei “valley people” and the Nagas tribe. The Meitei dominate the valley region with 53% of the population.
On May 3, 2023, the ‘All Tribal Students Union Manipur’ (ATSUM) held a solidarity march against the ‘High Court Order of Inclusion’ of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.
The march ended peacefully, but some miscreants of “valley Meiteis” were incensed over the protest and torched the Centenary Gate of the ‘Anglo Kuki War.’
The Kukis pursued the Meiteis, forcing them to retreat. However, the Meiteis regrouped and launched a counterattack, resulting in skirmishes along the border and the burning of houses and churches of the Kukis.
“Kukis must be killed in Manipur!”
Pastor Chongloi Sakhokai, Principal of Restoration Theological College (RTC) in Imphal, witnessed Meiteis people vandalizing and destroying Kuki properties, including cars, and looting their homes before razing them to the ground. He said:
“I saw a mob of about 2,000 to 3,000 people running amuck holding sticks shouting “Manipur da Kuki hatkada bane” which means “Kukis must be killed in Manipur.” Some of them wore black T-shirts, and many of them looted and destroyed properties. In other places, they ransacked not only their homes but small and big shops, stealing their belongings, appliances, tables, chairs, and whatever is valuable,” – Pastor Chongloi.
Burning the Restoration Theological College
On May 4, 2023, the Commencement Exercise of Restoration Theological College (RTC) of new church pastors in Imphal City had to be canceled due to the deteriorating situation.
The Reverend Dr. Chongloi, sensing divine guidance, made the decision to evacuate RTC and move to the nearby hospital campus. Just 30 minutes after they left, groups of violent mobs arrived and set fire to the Christian college—including Pastor Chongloi’s residence and car.
“The violence persisted for days and nights, and to our dismay, the police, commandos, and armies assigned to protect us remained passive observers. The perpetrators had unrestricted freedom to unleash havoc,” – Pastor Chongloi.
violent mobs set fire to the Christian college.
Kuki people murdered
Since May 3, a horrifying wave of violence resulted in the massacre of at least 106 Kukis, the burning of 201 Kuki villages, 355 churches, and church-related premises, and left more than 50,000 people homeless or displaced.
One cannot help but relate similar massacres, such as the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and the Nigerian Christian massacre in 2022, relates Pastor Sathokai.
Meiteis, who married a Kuki, was not spared
“A 7-year-old son of a Meitei mother and a Kuki father was injured during a gunfight. The army intervened by arranging an ambulance to transport the child with his (Meitei) mother and (Meitei) aunt, with a police escort to a hospital in Imphal. On the way, a Meitei mob stopped them, and when they learned the mother was married to a Kuki, they trapped all of them in the ambulance, poured gasoline, and burned them alive” – Pastor Chongloi.
Trapped in the ambulance and burned alive.
Kuki girls raped and murdered
According to Pastor Chongloi, two of his distant relatives, Florence Hangshing and Olivia Chongloi, were at work in Imphal City during the melee. They were handed over to the Meitei mob. They were raped and brutally murdered.
On June 18, 2023, the Reverend, who also serves as the General Secretary of the Kuki Organization for Human Rights, was dispatched to the United States. His mission was twofold: to appeal to the United Nations, of which the Kuki holds UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Status, and to seek assistance from the President of the United States.
Meanwhile, on June 24 and 26, 2023, protests were held in front of Whitehouse and Capitol Hill in Washington DC against the Prime Minister of India. The demonstrations were fueled by the Prime Minister’s conspicuous silence on the ongoing violence in Manipur.
Even the local government authority in Manipur failed to protect the Kuki genocide. Dr. Chongloi said:
“The Chief Minister of Manipur can hear the distance mob and see the destruction being done to us from his residence, but he did not do anything. We rushed to the Army CRPF Manipur Rifles Headquarters for safety” – Pastor Chongloi.
Pastor Chongloi appeals to Christians around the world:
- Pray that the violence stop immediately and normalcy return in the state.
- Pray for provisions to rebuild our homes and relocate the seminary to a safer place.
- Pray for provisions for our teaching and non-teaching staff who haven’t received their salaries since May, as some of the churches that supported the school have been burned, and some of them became relief centers.
You may get in touch with Rev. Dr. Chongloi at firstname.lastname@example.org