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Pained that Catholic leadership not playing decisive role to stop Manipur violence

Statement by the Indian Catholic Press Association, premier Organization of Catholic Journalists, Dailies and Periodicals in India, on the Manipur crisis
***
We, the Executive Committee members of the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA), met in Ahmedabad. In this city, the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi gave to the world his twin doctrine of ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (force of truth). The hallowed ‘Sabarmati Ashram’ and the ‘Dandi Bridge’ from which the Mahatma began the unparalleled ‘Dandi yatra’, challenge us Catholic journalists of India, to respond in a more meaningful way to the unbridled violence, hate and untruth that has gripped Manipur and several other parts of our country today.
It is 50 days since violence broke out in Manipur on 3 May. Though the reality is complex, we are deeply pained that precious little is being done to stop the violence. More than one hundred people have been killed, thousands of others have been brutalised, raped and rendered homeless. Homes, Churches and other institutions have been looted, set on fire and razed to the ground.
The perpetrators continue their heinous deeds, with apparent support from the ruling regime; even heavily protected State armouries with sophisticated weapons have been ‘looted’ by them. It is a known fact, that most of the victims of this crime against humanity, are Christians and other tribals. Well-meaning citizens from all over the country, are outraged that the State and the Central Governments have not demonstrated the political will to stop the violence, which obviously point out both to their culpability and complicity.
On behalf of the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA), we the Executive Committee members, demand that:
  • the State Government of Manipur is dismissed without delay; that President’s rule is imposed and that the violence is stopped immediately;
  • those who have been driven out of their homes and lands be given safe passage to return and are ensured the necessary security in their areas;
  • the perpetrators and instigators (however powerful they be) are brought to book and given appropriate punishment;
  • adequate and just compensation is given to all victims of this violence;
  • an Independent Citizens Tribunal (consisting of eleven independent citizens from across the country) be set up to look into the causes and the extent of this violence.
We are also pained that the leadership of the Catholic Church has not sufficiently played a prophetic, prompt and decisive role to stop this violence and to alleviate the tremendous suffering of the people of Manipur. We therefore call upon the Catholic Church leadership, to form a high-level team with the other Christian Churches, go to Manipur as soon as possible and try to bring a healing touch to the suffering people there!
On our part, as the ICPA, we will leave no stone unturned in our responsibility to highlight the importance of truth and non-violence for a more just, free, equitable and fraternal India.
The time to act is now – before it is too late for all!

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