Playing the Church card The vote equation
Playing politics with religion or in this case trying to garner votes by whipping up the Church card. In asserting that he wouldn’t share the same platform with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ground that the Centre has not said anything against the burning of Churches by Meitei mobs, Chief Minister Zoramthanga has more than made it clear that he hopes to make political capital out of the embers of the Kuki Churches burnt in the course of the ethnic clash that first erupted on May 3. In the event the sleight of hand to give a religious tinge to the Meitei-Kuki clash cannot be missed. One only wished that the honourable Chief Minister of the neighbouring State had qualified Church with the word Kuki. No one denies that Kuki Churches were dismantled, burnt and vandalised in the days that followed May 3, but it should also be made very clear that Churches belonging to other communities were not touched. The biggest Church, by membership, the Manipur Baptist Convention Church continues to stand tall today and continues to dispense with its service every Sunday. Same is the case with the Tangkhul Baptist Church which stands bang opposite the MBC Church. Same is the case with many other Churches belonging to the Naga community. On the other hand, the Chief Minister of Mizoram deftly overlooked the fact that hundreds of places which are sacred to Hindus and the Meiteis have been destroyed, desecrated and spat upon. It was at the height of the ethnic conflict that the Umang Lai Kanba Lup (UKAL), gave a brief breakdown of the places of worship of the Meiteis which were desecrated by the ‘Kuki-Chin narco-terrorists’. A total of 223 Ingkhol Lais (Homestead deities) were desecrated at Kakching (41), Churachandpur (72), Bishnupur (20), Tengnoupal (43), Imphal East (30), Imphal West (4) and Kangpokpi (13). The chain of events or targeting the religious places of the Meiteis started at Churachandpur and Torbung on May 3 prompting retaliations from the Meiteis at Imphal and the neighbouring districts in the valley. This was not all for this is about sacred sites dedicated to a single deity and there are others. Obviously the Kukis have not at all acknowledged this fact, just like they have not admitted that their ruffians first started attacking homesteads belonging to the Meiteis at Torbung and Churachandpur.
This is not the first time that religion has been used to further the false narrative that has been pursued with much vigour and if it is Zoramthanga biting it today, remember the same bait made its way to the floor of the European Parliament some time back. That it backfired in the ultimate analysis is a different thing, but when one actually and truthfully speaks about God, it should not be selective. Why is the Mizoram Chief Minister concerned only about the Churches, that too belonging to the Kukis, while maintaining a stoic silence on the places of worship of the Hindus and Meiteis which have also been vandalised and desecrated ? Ima Kondong Lairembi, which is an important sacred place for the Meiteis near Moreh was desecrated and destroyed. Why the silence on the incursion and the hoisting of a Cross and the Flag of a Kuki undergound outfit atop Thangjing Ching, which is a sacred site of the Meiteis ? If at all anyone is trying to take political mileage out of the mayhem, bloodshed and suffering of Manipur then the Mizo National Front has shown the way. One wonders if any true Christian will bite the bait that is being dangled at Mizoram but then as everyone knows from the present ethnic clash, there are many from amongst the Kukis who have tried and are trying to give a religious tinge to the present ongoing clash while at the same time playing up their Benei Menashe ties with Israel, which is a Judaic State. The limit some elements would go to garner as much support as possible with all the false narratives. Using the Church as an alibi to pursue a murderous attempt and script a false narrative can never come anything near the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.