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India: A political party vice chair resigns over Manipur Leaders' Failure to protect Christians

The vice president of the Mizoram Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), R. Vanramchhuanga, resigned in 'protest' of the leaders' failure to defend all Christians in the Indian state of Manipur, on July 13.

His resignation was a protest against the central government's disregard for the Christian minority in the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Kuki-Zomi tribals and the non-tribal Meiteis in neighboring Manipur.

Vanramchhuanga BJP vice president Vanlalhmuaka submitted his resignation letter to Mizoram BJP chief Vanlalhmuaka on July 13.

He expressed deep sadness over "anti-Christian activities" in Manipur, saying that "357 churches, pastors' quarters, and office buildings belonging to different Christian churches have been destroyed by Meitei militants".

He said to ThePrint, "The most irresponsible people behind this conflict are Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and they failed to protect the victims, the Christians."

"Amit Shah had himself visited Imphal (Manipur capital) and stayed for three days and two nights, but during his arrival, and even after he departed, the burning and violence continued," he added.

"The leaders of our country have not said anything to condemn this violence or comfort and console the victims, and they have been silent so far," he said.

He continued, "I never believed this before, but now I am persuaded that the BJP is an anti-Christian party. And I have a moral obligation to quit the party and my position."

He stated, "I feel that the state and central authorities supported the widespread razing of Christian churches in Manipur."

In addition to his resignation, he said it was a protest against this "act of criminal injustice."

Christian populations comprise 41.29 percent of Manipur's population and 87 percent of Mizoram's population, according to the 2011 Census.

Mizoram's state elections are slated for later this year, and Vanramchhuanga, a Presbyterian church elder, believes that the Manipur conflict could affect the BJP's prospects.

"If the violence hadn't happened here, the BJP would have won at least five or seven seats [out of 40] here, but now it won't even get one," he said.


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