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Indian church urges peace after demolishing three Christian churches in the tribal colony of Imphal

After the Manipur Government of India destroyed three churches in the tribal colony of Imphal in India's northeastern Manipur state, Christian leaders insisted on peace.

In the early hours of April 11, 2023, around 3 a.m., the Manipur Government of India evicted three Christian churches from the tribal colony of Imphal in the northeastern state of India's Manipur, including the Evangelical Baptist Convention Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Manipur, and the Catholic Holy Spirit Church.

In the Imphal East district of Manipur, the Manipur High Court reversed an interim status quo that ordered the removal of three unlicensed churches from government land. Yet, the churches maintained prescriptive titles to the ground.

After the High Court of Manipur vacated the interim status quo order due to the churches' failure to demonstrate that they were built with state approval, three churches were demolished in the presence of heavy security forces.

On April 4 of this year, the High Court of Manipur's acting Chief Justice M.V. Muralidaran ruled that the State authorities' decision to evict the respondent churches was based on documents, policy decisions, and law.

Three churches demolished in Imphal East district in India, on April 11, 2023.

As for the demolition of churches, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has refused to comment much, saying that a court order made the decision.

Pastor Nengzahau V. Haupi stated, "We established the church in 1974. The eviction notice came on December 24, 2020, and the high court protected the status quo for two and a half years. Therefore, in April 2023, the high court took out our status quo, and now it has happened like this.”

All Manipur Christian Organization (AMCO) “called upon all the churches and denominations in Manipur to cooperate and share the grief and sorrow of our brethren at the Tribal colony in Imphal and withhold them in our prayers.”

Many Christians gathered in the debris of the churches on Tuesday to pray as the administration demolished them.

One of the priests said that the state government should not have demolished the churches because they were not for personal benefit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Delhi on Easter Sunday, has not commented on Hindutva groups targeting churches and pastors nationwide.

More than 41% of Manipur’s population is Christian.


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