Minorities commission serves notice in Chingmeirong church dispute

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Imphal, Sep 10: The National Commission for Minorities while serving a 15 days notice to the state government to submit the chargesheet regarding the failure of the state government to take up the case of Chingmeirong church had summoned the state chief secretary DS Poonia on September 7.

A release of the All India Christian Council has stated that the village council of Chingmeirong Kabui had passed an unconstitutional resolution stating that ‘No Christian activities like prayer, worship, singing and preaching is allowed within Chingmeirong Kabui village Ward No 173, anybody violating this order would be punished under the rules and regulations of the village council.’ and had served a notice to the members of the village who had converted to Christianity.

It further stated that under the regulations members of the village had destroyed church building and homes of Christian villagers.

On April 3, 2008, the Chingmeirong Kabui village council served notice to Kaphun Kamei and his wife of the same village to pay a fine of large size pig and Rs. 5000 according to customary law and asked them to leave the village. When Kaphun Kamei and his family did not follow the order of the village council, the villagers attacked and destroyed his home and church building at his private compound on December 14, 2008.
The case was reported to local police and seven of the accused were arrested and released on bail. Since then, neither police nor Manipur government took any action to book the culprits and give justice to the victims. It has further stated that the council had submitted a memorandum to the chief secretary of the state on December 17, 2008 regarding the matter, but the state government failed to respond to the memorandum, after which the NCM Council wrote to the National Commission for Minorities on February 2, 2009.

Thereafter NCM again wrote to the chief secretary of the state on July 7, 2010 and summoned him following lack of action to bring judgment to the perpetrators and justice to the victims.

The NCM gave 15 days notice to the Chief Secretary of Manipur to submit the chargesheet of the case and the commission will write to the Manipur government to compensate the victim and the loss of properties. Christian Council has also appealed to the NCM and Manipur government to instruct Chingmeirong Kabui village council to revoke the unconstitutional rules and regulation passed for Christians in the village.

According to the statement of the council Rev. Madhu Chandra – Public Relation Secretary and Advocate Lansinglu Rongmei – Legal Secretary of All India Christian Council submitted fact-finding report conducted in March 2004, where 20 cases of Christian attacks took place in Manipur from 1990 to 2004. Over 10 churches and Christian homes destroyed by anti-Christian elements, the village authorities in many villages segregate many Meitei Christians, Rongmei Christians and Nepali Christians.

It has further maintained that “Chief Secretary of Manipur, DS Poonia had no idea about the series of attack on Christians in Manipur. When Dr. HT Sangliana – Vice Chairman of NCM, who chaired the hearing in retirement of Chairman, referred the fact-finding report to Poonia, he refused to acknowledge the crimes committed against Christian minorities which were reported in local newspapers and cases are registered at local police stations,” says Madhu Chandra.

In a memorandum submitted to NCM, All India Christian Council demanded an appointment of a Meitei Christian member in Manipur State Minority Commission. “Since series of attacks on Christian minorities taking place, unless and until a member from vulnerable communities is appointed in State Minority commission, it will be incomplete to serve the interest of community,” said Chandra.

The Council led by its secretary general Dr. John Dayal also a member of National Integration Council will conduct another fact-finding mission from 17 – 19 September and Independent Tribunal will be held at Imphal on September 18, 2010. The report of the fact-finding and Independent tribunal will be submitted to NCM and Manipur government, added the release.

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