Written by: Open Doors SA
Article source: JOY Magazine

The violent persecution of Christians in India has increased significantly over the past year. According to Open Doors’ World Watch List (WWL) for 2024, this South-Asian democratic country is currently the 11th most dangerous country in the world for Christians. There was a substantial rise in the number of Christians killed and the number of churches, Christian schools, and homes attacked.

The epicentre of the surge in violence and displacement has been the northeastern state of Manipur, where hostilities between the mostly Hindu Meitei and Christian Kuki ethnic groups erupted in May 2023. The violence left 160 Christians dead, and thousands were chased from their homes to find shelter elsewhere after watching their homes burn down.

A life-threatening situation
Sister Hoinu* is among the 41 500 Kuki Christians displaced by ethnoreligious violence and riots in Manipur. Hoinu, her husband, her four kids, her brothers, and her in-laws had a harrowing escape when their hometown, Imphal, was attacked by deadly mobs of violent people. She was alerted about possible danger when she saw a video with a man saying: “Let’s attack the place where the Kukis reside!”

Not long after the video had spread, a large mob with hundreds of extremists gathered in Imphal and took over the city in the name of tribe, land, politics, and Sanamahism, a Hindu folk religion. At that time, Hoinu’s husband said: “This situation seems to be worsening. Let’s run!” She remembers: “I packed our important documents and my children’s certificates. There was not enough time to even pack clothes, as we feared for our lives.”

open doors

Fear and destruction
Searching for refuge, Hoinu and her family went towards some clergy’s shared residence. “We were more than 200 people there, including at least ten babies and senior citizens who could not even hold a glass of water by themselves. That whole night we could not sleep because of fear. The mobs were shouting: “Kukis, come out! We are hunting for you. Today is your last day. No one is going to be alive.”

The borders of Hoinu’s hometown are now being guarded and occupied by Hindu extremists. The churches of her tribal people have been reduced to rubble and ash, as more than 350 churches were attacked. Their houses are mere skeletons now.


Sister Hoinu praying with an Open Doors partner in front of her tent in the relief camp.

Safety and peace of mind
Currently, Hoinu and her family are staying in a relief camp. Since the attack, a white tent near the window in a large hall – which she shares with 63 displaced Kuki families, about 270 residents in total – has been her family’s new home.

“By the grace of God, our family is now safe. The Bible says that what happens to you happens for a reason, so I have calmed down and I trust in God. I have peace in my mind that God is planning something good for us. We have fellowship twice a day here in the relief camp. We hold onto prayer and are praising God,” she shares.

Support for the Church in India
Through your support, Open Doors partners have been able to provide urgent aid and relief, such as sacks of rice, lentils, potatoes, medical and sanitary supplies, and grocery items to Hoinu and the other people in her camp.

Visit opendoors.org.za to help the Church in India survive through prayer and giving, showing them that they are not forgotten by their global Church family.

Geopende Deure – Open Doors NPC | Nedbank
Branch: 198765 | Acc: 113 750 4552 (Business) | Ref: JE2404

Geopende Deure – Open Doors NPC | Capitec Business
Branch: 450105 | Acc: 1051150132 (Current) | Ref: JE2404

*Names changed for security reasons. | Photos: © 2024 Open Doors International


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Date published: 18/03/2024
Feature image: Women cooking rice in the relief camp, which houses about 270 Christian people from the Kuki tribe (faces blurred to protect identities).

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