As the Indian government was submitting an affidavit on the morning of 28 July to inform the Supreme Court of India that it has “zero tolerance towards any crimes against women” some 64 men, women and children were staging a protest at Indian Consulate in Melbourne against ‘Manipur Violence’ calling it a crime against Christians.
This group of people came there under the banner of ‘Worldwide Christian Alliance,” an unregistered body created for this protest by the Melbourne-based followers of Ankur Narula Ministries which is headquartered in the Indian state of Punjab’s Jalandhar City.
None of the people who were at the protest was from Manipur and had no knowledge of the historical issue between the two tribes of the state. All of the protesters were Punjabi-speaking followers of Ministries.
The Protesters were holding banners like ‘Stop burning churches’ and ‘Stop hatred and violence in Manipur, however, were reluctant to acknowledge that hundreds of Hindu temples belonged to tribal Meitei.
Neeraj Dhiman who converted to Christianity in January 2023 through Ankur Narula Ministries was leading the protesting group.
Mr Dhiman told The Australia Today, “There are many incidents of rape and murder happening in Manipur but authorities have not taken much action.”
He questions the sincerity of the Manipur government and police authorities,
“Action should be taken without thinking about which tribe they belong to,”added Mr Neeraj.
Another protester from the same church group who does not want to be named says he receives WhatsApp videos from India which has shaped his opinion about the issue.
What happened in Manipur
The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3 in protest against the proposed inclusion of people belonging to the Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) for affirmative action.
The state has been in the grip of violence and civilian unrest for over three months now and the Indian central government had to deploy central paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.
Last week a 26-second video from Manipur triggered outrage in the whole of India where two women were stripped naked, assaulted and paraded by a mob.
The incident allegedly took place on May 4, a day after ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur.
After a video of the same went viral, the police swung into action and arrested seven people, including the main accused.
The Indian media reports that the mobile phone from which Manipur women’s viral video was shot has been recovered and the person who shot the video has also been arrested.
A female protester Nancy argues that she is standing here for women’s right to be safe in their own homes and streets.
Despite holding the banners which target Hindu Meiteis Nancy concedes that both Kuki and Meiteis should stop violence.
“The government has the responsibility to bring communities to the table for peace talks so that these senseless acts of violence against women stop Asap,”said Ms Nancy.
What is Indian government doing
According to Indian media reports, nearly 35,000 security personnel has been deployed on the ground.
“No shortage of medicine and daily supplies, prices of food and essential materials are under control, a large number of government staff are returning to work, schools are also slowly resuming”, An Indian official informed the media.
Meanwhile, the Indian government held several rounds of talks with members of the Kuki and Meitei communities.
“Six rounds of talks with each community were held”,official said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly monitoring the situation in Manipur.
“He is regularly being briefed by Home Minister and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials.”
Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its affidavit to the court today morning said that the case of the viral video of two women is being transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s prime investigation agency.
Several Police teams have been formed for mass operations at several locations to arrest identified culprits and an Additional SP rank officer has been entrusted to investigate the case, under the constant supervision of other senior police officials.
Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday 27 July assured its global partners that “authorities are taking action to bring perpetrators to justice and restore peace in Manipur.”
MEA Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi while addressing a media briefing said,
“As you are aware, this is a matter on which our authorities, particularly the viral video, but other incidents also on which our authorities are taking action to bring the perpetrators to justice and restore peace and normalcy in Manipur.”
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