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Business News/ News / India/  'Please help..': Manipur pastor pleads as mob burns down church, house
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'Please help..': Manipur pastor pleads as mob burns down church, house

I only have the T-shirt and the trousers I’m wearing. We couldn’t save anything, everything is burnt down or looted, pastor said

The family is currently staying at an Assam Rifles relief camp in Mantripukhuri on the outskirts of Imphal in Manipur, along with around 5,000 other victims of violence. (HT_PRINT)Premium
The family is currently staying at an Assam Rifles relief camp in Mantripukhuri on the outskirts of Imphal in Manipur, along with around 5,000 other victims of violence. (HT_PRINT)

The ongoing conflict in Manipur has left many people homeless and seeking refuge in relief camps. Among them is L. Thangkholet Khongsai, an Imphal-based pastor and teacher, who was forced to flee the city after a mob burnt down the church, where he taught, and the quarters he had called home for 20 years. 

Pleading for help, Khongsai, a 50-year-old member of the Kuki community, told The Telegraph, “We want to be shifted to Kangpokpi so that we can be with relatives. Help us shift. Please do something...."

The family is currently staying at an Assam Rifles relief camp in Mantripukhuri on the outskirts of Imphal in Manipur, along with around 5,000 other victims of violence. However, he is desperate to shift to Kangpokpi, which is about 30km from the relief camp, where he has relatives.

“My wife and children shifted to the camp on Thursday after a 100-strong mob entered the Kuki Christian Church compound in Imphal City and wreaked havoc," Khongsai said adding, “We had to run for our lives. The security forces couldn’t control (the situation). I shifted to the camp yesterday (Saturday) after taking care of those left behind on the compound."

Difficulties at the refugee camps in Manipur

The conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities has affected both the rich and the poor, with a heavy toll on life and property. Over 10,000 people are currently staying in relief camps in their own city.

Speaking about the difficulties at the camp, the pastor says he has 15 relatives with him in the camp, including a pregnant sister-in-law. They only receive two meals a day and have no possessions left as everything was burnt down or looted. “I only have the T-shirt and the trousers I’m wearing. We couldn’t save anything."

He also revealed he had “secretly" visited the church compound to find “Nothing is left; whatever was left got looted."

Manipur violence: Curfew relaxed partially

Violence erupted in Manipur on May 3 as the Meiteis demanded Scheduled Tribe status, which is opposed by the state's tribal populace, including Kukis and Nagas who already enjoy ST status. 

Relief camps have been set up in Churachandpur town, which is about 60km away from Imphal, house 5,500 refugees mostly Meiteis. Another 3,800 more poeple are in 27 smaller camps in the Bishnupur district. 

The Indian army has rescued 23,000 people and deployed 7,000 personnel to control the situation, including enhanced aerial surveillance with drones and helicopters. Curfew has been relaxed in Churachandpur and 11 of the state's 16 districts, with Pherzawl having a 12-hour relaxation. 

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Published: 08 May 2023, 10:55 AM IST
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