Bishops of NE India appeal for peace amid unrest in Manipur

Guwahati, 4 May 2023: In the wake of large-scale violence and unrest in Manipur, the Catholic Bishops of North East India have appealed for restrain and peace in the state on 4 May 2023.

Speaking on behalf of all the Bishops of North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC), Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, said the images and videos from Imphal, the capital town, and across the state, being shared on different social media platforms was sad and disturbing.

“Violence is never the answer for any lasting solution. Violence begets violence and it leaves an indelible scar in the mind of the people. The North East Region is unique and the rest of the country looks up to us for our gentleness, warmth, hospitality and rich cultural heritage. What is happening in Manipur since Wednesday is sad and frightening and it does not represent who we really are,” read the note from the President of NEIRBC.

The appeal comes a day after worrying report of large-scale arson, vandalism, clashes and unrest emerged from Imphal, Bishnupur and Morey areas of Manipur due to some misunderstanding between two sections of the people over Scheduled Tribe status.

“Manipur is a beautiful state where different communities have peacefully co-existed for centuries. We should not allow this harmonious coexistence to be disturbed due to misunderstanding fanned by rumours”, the note read.

The state government has issued curfew and internet lockdown orders since last night to contain the violence. In extreme cases, the district magistrates are asked to issue shoot at sight order.

Appealing for an amicable solution to the issue through dialogue, the note implored the people of Manipur to stop all the violence and vandalism and to work towards restoration of normalcy.

“It is sad and unfortunate that a problem over a ST status is being given a religious colour by burning of many churches. Loss of lives and huge damage to property of residents have brought lives to an uncertain and painful halt. We appeal to every single person in Manipur to work for calm and restoration of normal life”, the note read.

As per the latest report, the situation seems to have been brought under control after huge deployment of Army and paramilitary forces across the state.

Expressing solidarity with all those affected by this unrest, the Bishops of North East India have requested everyone to pray for peace and normalcy in Manipur and across the region.