Nagaland Baptist Church prays for peace in Manipur

Kohima Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (KBPF) organised a "Candlelight Vigil Standing in Prayer for Manipur" calling for peace in Manipur.

Nagaland Baptist Church prays for peace in Manipur

Under the aegis of the Kohima Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship (KBPF) a “Candlelight Vigil Standing in Prayer for Manipur” was held at Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) Convention Centre on Sunday 25th June, following the ethnic clashes which have erupted in Manipur since May 3rd 2023 between the Meitei people, a majority that lives in the Imphal Valley, and the tribal community from the surrounding hills, including the Kuki people.

People who participated were holding placards that said “Stop killing”, “High time for Government to Act”, “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Manipur”, “Stop spreading hate speech”, etc.

General secretary of NBCC, Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho in his message noted that Manipur had been bleeding for 54 days and counting. He alleged that neither the Union nor the state government takes the wounds seriously.

The reverend noted that people have gathered to pray for the people of Manipur and not to find faults, blame and accuse people to ascertain who did it. He stated, “We are here to show our solidarity, to stand in prayer for our suffering brothers and sisters regardless of the community to which they belong to.”

“Our condolences and sympathy go out to families who lost their loved ones. Our heart cries in anguish for those children whose parents did not return home, to those parents who did not see their children return home on that fateful evening and the fear which continues to haunt them every day”, he further stated.

Keyho expressed his sorrow about how the conflict has been going on for too long, stating that people around the world are wondering when this act of violence will stop. He said people every day wake up with fresh news of clashes and exchange of fire and end the day with the hope that somehow the act of violence would come to an end and peace would be restored.

He said that the complete helplessness of the common people, as well as their anxiety and uncertainty, were severe causes for worry, leading him to question if the authorities have lost their hold.

On behalf of the NBCC, Keyho mentioned how unfortunate and heartbreaking it is that church buildings and properties had become the target of the conflict, insisting that targeting a particular religion should not be made the face of the conflict. He mentioned that there was a bigger and more complex issue that the authority must address.

Keyho stressed that the root cause of the conflict must be addressed with sincerity to find a solution, lest it becomes too late. He demanded that the government must act to cease communal violence and that equal protection be accorded to all communities.

As the government machinery is meant to protect the weak and marginalised, he said it must be dispensed judiciously for the benefit of everyone by establishing law and order and giving protection to the weak and minority groups in Manipur.

Keyho and others urged the Union to take action and foster trust among the general public and minority groups in Manipur, whose lives and very survival are reportedly under threat. The reverend said it was time for the Union Government to step in and begin fostering trust and peace.

The NBCC chief urged the Kuki and Meitei family members to sit down and engage in dialogue since, in the end, they would continue to live as family members, members of the community, and neighbours rather than as strangers, he stressed.

Additionally, he urged the warring sides to forge a bond of brotherhood through their shared love and respect for one another.

“Shun violence and stop spreading hatred and propaganda. Violence will beget violence, hatred will beget hatred and the cycle will continue unless we put this to a dead end”, he exhorted.

The programme was chaired by Thsadongse Sangram, while Lotha Baptist Church pastor Dr Benry Lotha blessed the event with an invocation. KPBF general secretary Ruokuovilie Sachü gave the intercessory prayer while Rev Dr Kiyeto Sema of the Sumi Aphuyemi Baptist Church, Kohima, delivered the benediction.

Ritika passionately reports on current affairs, conflicts and politics. Ritika pursued BA in Mass Communication from St Xavier’s University, Kolkata. She loves watching films or reading when she isn't chasing the news.

Leave a comment
scroll to top