01/19/2024, 18.33
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Moreh, the new flashpoint of violence in Manipur

by Nirmala Carvalho

For weeks, the city on the border with Myanmar has been rocked by attacks and reprisals between ethnic Meitei and Kuki. Seven deaths have been reported in the last few hours. The Sisters of Mother Teresa have also been forced to leave their home amid fighting between armed men and Indian security forces.


Delhi (AsiaNews) – Moreh, a town of some 30,000 residents right on the border with Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, has become a flashpoint in the ethnic violence that began nine months ago in India’s northeastern state of Manipur

Since the start of the new year, violence has intensified in the area, a major crossroad with people of different religions from almost every Indian state as well as ethnic Chinese, Barma (Burmese), and Nepalis.

In the last two days alone, at least seven people have died, including two members of the Indian security forces.

On Wednesday, two Christian schools – Bethsaida Academy and Dr Colvin Academy – and some houses inhabited by ethnic Kuki-Zo were set on fire, causing two deaths and several injuries.

The following night, attacks were carried out against ethnic Meitei, shot at by militias from across the border. Five people were killed in this incident.

Following reports of the “breach of peace, disturbance of public tranquillity, and grave danger to human lives and property within the revenue jurisdiction of Tengnoupal,” state authorities imposed a curfew from 12 January to 16 January to little avail.

The situation is getting more and more dangerous for everyone in Moreh. The UCAN news agency yesterday reported that the Convent of the Missionaries of Charity found in the crossfire between armed men and Indian security forces.

“I have been informed that there has been a firefight and that the walls of the house of the Sisters of Mother Teresa have been hit by bullets," a local priest told AsiaNews. “For this reason, the nuns were forced to leave and one or two Catholics were also killed."

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Manipur, at least 200 people have lost their lives and almost 67,000 have been forced to leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere.

The Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been accused of seriously neglecting the crisis.

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been hammering this view in recent days, after launching his new "long march" across the country, starting from strife-torn Manipur.

Meanwhile, civil war continues to rage in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, which borders Manipur, a source of further instability in Moreh.

Across the border, the Myanmar military has recently attacked Khampat, a town held by rebel groups ethnically related to the Kuki-Zo, causing at least 17 deaths.

In this distressing context, the appeal launched at Christmas by the new archbishop of Imphal, Mgr Linus Neli, for “authentic reconciliation" to bring together "peace and harmony with justice" remains relevant as ever.

May God “save us from ethnic strife and violence that destroy lives and kill the future,” the prelate said.


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See also
Fighting in Myanmar spills over into Manipur again
24/11/2023 19:07
India sells weapons to Myanmar’s military regime, but in Manipur, authorities want to keep refugees out
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Tensions are again running high in Manipur with more deaths and clashes
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The roots of Manipur’s multifaceted conflict
04/08/2023 20:09


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