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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

The Gang Rape of Christian Women in Manipur is the Trailer of Hindu Rashtra

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Manipur is a northeastern Indian state that saw a decline of Hindus from 62 percent to 41 percent between 1961 and 2011. During the same period, the share of the Christian population rose from 19 percent to 41 percent. Muslims are about 9 percent. This demography defines the decades-old conflict that has caused immense loss of human lives. It also explains the brutal gang rape of two women from Christian Kuki tribes by the Hindus after being paraded naked in the streets in the presence of law enforcement officials of the state. The male family members of the brutalized women were not alive, as the mob had killed them earlier.

The message given to Christians was not different from the message relayed by the Gujarati Hindus in 2002 when, under the chief ministership of now Indian Premier Narendra Modi, Muslim women, and children became the victims of rape and murder. Bilqis Banu's case is still fresh in the minds of every sensible Indian. Under the patronage of political and religious elites, the Hindu goons killed Bano's family members and infant babies before committing the heinous rape crime. The barbarism did not end there. The Hindu Gujarati court freed the convicted rapists.

The message is not ambiguous. The Hindutva parties have spelled it. "India belongs to Hindus under the leadership of Upper Castes based on Hindu scriptures of Manusmarti and non-Hindus must accept an inferior status."

The religious groups of the Meitei-speaking people are predominantly Hindus. Besides these, the non-Meitei-speaking communities (tribe communities) are mostly Christians.

The Meitei ethnicity (aka Manipuri people) is the majority group following Hinduism in Manipur, besides other minor immigrants following the same faith in the state. The Hindu population is in the Meitei dominant areas of the Manipur Valley (Imphal Valley). The districts of Bishnupur, Thoubal, Imphal East, and Imphal West all have Hindu majorities, averaging 67.62% (range 62.27–74.81%) according to the 2011 census data.

Vaishnavite Hinduism was the state religion of the Kingdom of Manipur. In 1704, Meitei King Charairongba accepted Vaishnavism and changed his traditional Meitei name into a Hindu name, Pitambar Singh.

Christianity is the religion of 41% of the people in the state, but is the majority in rural areas with 53%, and is predominant in the hills. The Protestant missionaries brought it to Manipur in the 19th century. In the 20th century, a few Christian schools introduced Western-type education. Christianity is the predominant religion among tribals of Manipur, and tribal Christians make up the vast majority (over 96%) of the Christian population in Manipur.

The Meitei Pangals, also known as the Meitei Muslims or the Manipuri Muslims, are the state's third largest religious majority group, as are about 9% of the state population as per the 2011 census.

The holy symbol of the Sanamahi religion, the indigenous ethnic religion of the Meitei people, the predominant ethnic group of Manipur

A reconstructed ancient temple dedicated to Meitei God Pakhangba of Sanamahism inside the Kangla Fort, Imphal.

Sanamahism (often referred to as the traditional Meitei religion) is the ancient polytheistic indigenous animistic ethnic religion of the Meitei people,

The various other religions were primarily followers of tribal folk religions.

Hindus of Manipur or Gujarat are not born rapists or violent mongers. Someone taught them to be violent and hateful. Someone told them that the lives of upper castes and supporters of Hindutva are more precious than those who do not belong to these groups.

What happened in Manipur is beyond description. How can a Hindu mob under the protection of a police gang rape two powerless women stripped naked? The upper-caste Hindu religious mafia is quiet. The Hindu power elite is silent. It took India's Prime minister 74 days to make a statement on the Hindutva barbarism. It came only when the opposition leaders visited Manipur and raised the issue.

Hindu Rashtra is leading India to this culture of molestation and gang rape. Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Dalits, and tribals must realize that the barbarism unfolded by Hindutva groups in Manipur would not stop at the state's border. The forces of Hindutva are active worldwide in propagating hate and violence. They believe that the expertise in controlling social media and the internet and the purchasing power of more than a billion Indians allows them to commit crimes against humanity unchallenged.

Manipur is a wake-up call for the world, or at least those who identify with human values of decency. One cannot expect Bidens, Trumps, Netanyahus, Putins, Sonaks, Maccrons, or Modis to stand for human dignity. They are lizards who change their colors. People must stand up for their rights and confront the Hindutva-led-hatred.

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