Indian Ministers Warn PM: Help Manipur or Face Civil War

Increasing violence against Christians in Manipur, India, is creating tensions in New Delhi.

Members of India’s opposition failed to secure a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the conflict.

The newly formed India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) warned the PM: help Manipur or face civil war.

“If Manipur is burning, India is burning, if Manipur is on fire, India is on fire.”

“If Manipur is divided, India is divided. So today we are not only talking about Manipur but of India,” advised Gaurav Gogoi, an opposition member of Congress.

Reaching back to events in Manipur, where two Christian women were paraded by Hindu men naked down a street, then gang raped in a field, Supriya Sule said, “What happened in Manipur is shameful. I demand Manipur’s Chief Minister, Biren Singh, resign immediately. Ask your conscience, how can I support this government?”

The National Congress Party (NCP) leader made the remarks while she was detailing the tragedy unfolding in the North-Eastern Indian state.

“60,000 are displaced, 179 people have died, 40,000 people are in relief camps, over 3,600 houses have been destroyed, and 321 religious places” [churches] burned to the ground.

In a 3-minute video, centre-Left politician, Sonia Gandhi, spoke from experience, pleading for peace.

Her mother-in-law, Indira, a former Prime Minister was assassinated in 1984. Indira’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia’s husband, was assassinated in 1991.

Her son, Rahul Gandhi – considered the primary face of Modi’s political opposition – was sentenced to 2 years in gaol for mocking the Prime Minister’s last name during a 2019 election rally.

Rahul’s sentence was suspended in early August leaving unanswered claims the trial was politically designed to disqualify him from office.

Speaking about Manipur, she said, “The unprecedented violence has left a deep wound in the conscience of our nation.”

“Today we are at a vital crossroads, our choice to embark on the path of healing [or not], will shape the future that our children will inherit.”

Gandhi then appealed to the people of Manipur, especially women, “to lead the way in [restoring] peace and harmony” to the state.

“As I mother, I understand your pain,” Gandhi said, “I appeal to your good conscience to lead the way in rebuilding trust, to emerge stronger from this trial.”

While reported as ethnic strife between the Meitei and Kuki, the violence in Manipur has been spurred on by India’s updated anti-conversion laws driving what the New York Times said was “anti-Christian hysteria.”

Raising further concerns about the state-sponsoring violence in Manipur, the local government, which is run by members of Modi’s party, were behind the internet black-out.

To make matters worse, the Indian Prime Minister has barely commented on the disaster.

The no-confidence motion put forward by the 26 parties who form the INDIA opposition alliance was aimed at shifting the PM’s position.

The purpose of the motion was to “force Modi to act,” first by breaking his “vow of silence,” and second by visiting the conflict-stricken area.

Victorious, Modi’s supporters fired back, saying officials have been ordered to tour the region, then accused the opposition of working against the poor.

Biren Singh, Manipur’s CM dismissed the unconcern for Christians, saying the strife was part of a “foreign plot to destabilise the country.”

He then threw in another red herring, blamed drugs, urged for calm, and added, “To err is human, so we must learn to forgive and forget.”

Kathmandu Post disagreed.

While it’s true the North-East is a geo-political nightmare, with a mix of tribes, and groups, like the majority Christian Naga, who want complete independence, Modi’s government shoulders most of the blame.

“The Manipur conflict has been further exacerbated by the federal government’s apathy.”

Their “lack of sensitivity to the suffering of the Manipuri tribes adds to suspicions” that Modi’s men are “fanning the flames,” KP recounted.

“As the opposition parties have stated, it’s likely that the ruling party and its groups have aided and abetted the dominant Meitei, as they pursue a Hindu nation by suppressing the [Christian] Kuki, whom they consider outsiders.”

Writing for The Guardian, Priya Sharma, said, “While the world ogles us as an ‘economic powerhouse,’ for years a divisive, religiously-driven agenda has been at work reshaping India.

“Hindutva, the religious-political nationalism firing up the BJP’s power base, openly asserts that India’s identity is inseparable from Hinduism,” Sharma explained.

The ethnic strife argument doesn’t completely stack up, she argued.

“In Manipur, the ethnic majority Meitei people also have a Christian minority.

“When Hindu mobs attacked, Meitei churches, as well as Kuki churches, were incinerated.

“This suggests the conflict is not about ethnicity alone – it is also about denying a place for non-Hindu faiths.”

To borrow from CBN, Manipur, known as the “Switzerland of India” for its natural beauty and remoteness, [now] looks more like a war zone.’

Those are ominous words for the world’s biggest constitutional democracy.   

With a no-confidence vote regarding Modi’s handling of the situation defeated, the divisions, and violence ignited by bad government policies in Manipur, is sure to spread.