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Manipur govt urged to guarantee freedom of faith

Imphal: All India Christian Council (aicc) has urged Chief Minister of Manipur O Ibobi Singh to take urgent steps to check human trafficking from the state and the north east region.

The Council, which is working on this issue in several parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi, has offered its expertise to the state authorities in this matter.
In a press release issued in Imphal after meeting senior officers on the increasing incidents of persecution of Christians in various parts of the state on 18 September 2010, aicc Secretary  General  Dr John Dayal and North Regional Secretary Rev Madhu Chandra said, “The Christian Council runs the highly successful North-Eastern Centre and Helpline which has rescued many Manipuri girls working in the national capital region from harassment and sexual violence.

The recent survey conducted by the Council, and covered in the national print and TV media, exposed racial profiling against students and young workers from the Northeast region, and particularly young men and women from Manipur, who live and work in New Delhi and the cities of the national capital region. Violence has included rape, molestation, harassment and murderous assault on youth.”

The Christian leaders said they had met the Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police of Imphal and briefed them on the communal situation in the state. “It is a great shame that not only a church has been demolished at Chingmeiron Kabui village in Imphal, next to the national highway but also several obnoxious billboards have been allowed to be put up targeting Christians. These bill boards, which are violative of the Indian Penal Code, can spread communal hatred against the minority Christian groups.”

They said, “Although the area comes within the Imphal municipal limits, some villagers are running the affairs in a feudal and illegal manner. Goaded by the village leadership, people raided the compound of a Christian and demolished the church and damaged his house in December 2008. They also imposed heavy penalty on the person and ordered him to leave the village. The family remains under threat and their house is stoned periodically.”

“The Christians have rebuilt the church by taking loans and going into personal debt. The National Commission for Minorities recently summoned the State Chief Secretary to New Delhi on this issue on our complaint. The Minority Commission urged the State to compensate the Christian community The State is refusing to pay damages.

We demand that the Chie minister that the State government pay the entire amount of about Rs 2.50 lakh to the Christian community. Other state governments compensate victims of communal violence and rebuild places of worship, including churches.”

The Christian leaders urged the Chief Minister to nominate a Christian member to the State Minorities Commission so that it could do the work of promoting communal harmony and taking measures to stop communal discrimination and violence.

(Source: News From aicc leader)

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