Dimapur Holds Another Prayer Rally For Peace In Manipur - Eastern Mirror
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Dimapur holds another prayer rally for peace in Manipur

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Sep 03, 2023 10:23 pm
Participants during the prayer rally and candlelight service for peace in Manipur held at DDSC Stadium on Sunday evening.

DIMAPUR — Hundreds of people, mostly students, took part in the prayer rally and candlelight service for peace in Manipur, held at DDSC Stadium on Sunday evening.

The prayer rally was jointly organised by the Nagaland Joint Christian Forum, Christian Forum Dimapur and Nagaland Theological Colleges Association on the theme ‘Pursue peace and justice.’

Convenor of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, in his address, said that the people have gathered to affirm faith and humanhood. Aier said human-hood is men and women of different beliefs, languages, customs and cultures created by a “very special designer.”

He said that in today’s globalised world, “religious and cultural plurality is the inescapable reality.”

He went on to say that pluralism, understood as a political agenda, is a constructive position for any nation. Therefore, any group of people or any political order that advocates a single political order must debunk that theory immediately before succumbing to a state of self-annihilation.

Aier also expressed that those who push for a “singleness of ideology” are only good for fighting, not for living together in peace,  and appealed not to allow ‘the clash of civilisations’ to destroy one another but to replace it with a vision of cooperation.

“Let us say no to societies and nations that advocate exclusiveness and therefore, at the same time, repressive toward the so-called “different ones,” he said.

President of Dimapur Baptist Women Union (DBWU), Khontale Seb, said that the peace rally was organised to show solidarity with the innocent victims of ethnic conflict in Manipur. She also said the people have congregated to raise their voices together to make an appeal to the both central government and the government of Manipur, to allow the rebuilding of the churches that were destroyed during the conflict.

Seb condemned the large-scale destruction in Manipur and expressed grave concern over the reported looting and desecration of churches, and the demolition and burning of more than 300 churches in various districts of Manipur.

Seb said that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every citizen of India. She also pointed out that the ability to worship in peace and security is a universal human right which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Appealing for justice and safety to all citizens, she also called upon the authorities concerned to intervene at the earliest in providing relief, and protection and to let people worship in their respective churches without the fear of being killed.

Vice president of Nagaland Joint Christian Forum (NJCF), Rev. Dr. N Paphino, informed that the NJCF and Christian Forum Dimapur, had visited Manipur four times during which they had the privilege to meet both the Meiteis and Kuki Christian leaders, besides visiting several relief camps.

He said that during NJCF’s visit to Manipur last week, they saw the harsh reality of conditions in relief camps.

Paphino narrated that in one particular relief camp set up in a depilated government school building, more than 156 families have been staying together for more than three months under pathetic conditions. The school has only one bathroom and toilet, he said.

He said that as per record, more than 350 churches have been burnt down and destroyed to date in Manipur.

NJCF seeks urgent intervention from President

The Nagaland Joint Christian Forum (NJCF) has sought the “urgent intervention” of President Droupadi Murmu on the ongoing conflict in Manipur.

The forum in a representation to the President of India also requested the latter’s support in rebuilding the churches and religious institutions that have suffered extensive damage due to the violence.

“The situation in Manipur has reached a critical juncture, with escalating tensions causing distress and upheaval among its residents. It is with deep sorrow that we report the destruction of several churches and religious establishments during this violent conflict,” the memorandum stated.

The NJCF reminded that these institutions have historically played a vital role in fostering a sense of community, promoting values of peace and harmony and providing vital services to the people.

Imploring the constitutional head of the country to intervene immediately to address the Manipur issue, the forum stated that her guidance and influence can pave the way for meaningful dialogue and resolution, ensuring the restoration of peace and stability in the region.

“Additionally, we beseech you to initiate efforts for the reconstruction of the damaged churches and religious institutions, symbolising our commitment to religious freedom and unity,” it stated.

Further, the forum urged the President to facilitate the safe and dignified repatriation of the individuals displaced by the conflict and currently residing in relief camps, ensuring that they can rebuild their lives with the support of the government

“Your intervention will not only bring solace to the affected communities but also reinforce the idea that unity and diversity are the cornerstones of our great nation,” the forum stated.

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Sep 03, 2023 10:23:58 pm
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