06/14/2023, 19.37
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Archdiocese of Bangalore welcomes refugees from Manipur

by Nirmala Carvalho

Violence between ethnic Meitei and Kuki continues in the northeastern state. Nine people die in Aigejang, a village in a "mixed" area not far from the state capital Imphal. More than 100 people have been killed so far since clashes broke out in early May. Young refugees brought to Karnataka will be able to continue their studies and seek work. For Archbishop Machado, hospitality is the way of showing solidarity with those who suffer.

Bengaluru (AsiaNews) – The Archdiocese of Bangalore (Karnataka) is providing shelter and support for students and young workers displaced by escalating ethnic clashes in the State of Manipur.

The violence that broke out more than a month ago has left a trail of death and destruction. Fr James Beipei, a Bengaluru priest originally from Manipur, responded to the situation by bringing a number of children and young people to the archdiocese where they can be safe and find solace.

When Archbishop Peter Machado met them, he reassured them that they would be able to continue their studies at Catholic schools in Bengaluru for free while staying at local hostels.

In reaching out to these displaced people, the prelate articulated the archdiocese’s readiness to take care of them, expressing solidarity with everyone affected and displaced by the violence in Manipur.

Fr James Beipei explained the challenges Christians and others face in Manipur amid ongoing communal tensions. Since places of worship, schools and homes have become vulnerable to attacks, he felt it necessary to move young people to Bengaluru.

One of them is Luni, a young woman who described the brutality of recent turmoil in her home state. She explained that what she saw far surpasses any civil strife she witnessed previously. Now in Bengaluru, she found relief and safety among people who welcomed her and the others.

Kennedy, a student, talked about the intense gunfire during the governor's visit and the fear his parents have in staying in Manipur. He too was grateful to Archbishop Machado for helping him and his comrades securing jobs.

Meanwhile, back in Manipur, violence continues. Officially, the death toll has topped 100 with 60,000 people sheltering in some 350 refugee camps.

The latest incident occurred last night when nine people were killed and 10 wounded in Aigejang, a village in Kangpokpi district, near the border with Imphal East district, home to both ethnic Kuki and Meitei.

On Monday, violence also broke out in Kangpokpi, Imphal East and Churachandpur with one dead and nine people wounded in separate incidents.

A group of 20 suspected Meitei armed men killed three people and wounded two last Friday in an attack in Khoken, a Kuki village.

A few days earlier, two women and a wounded child were burnt alive inside an ambulance that was being escorted to hospital by the Imphal West police superintendent.

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