Cry Out For Manipur:Stop Killing Christians in India

Speech at rally for Manipur in Congressman Ro Khanna’s district

The ongoing violence in Manipur is the worst pogrom in the nine years of the Modi regime’s rule over India.

It’s also the worst anti-Christian massacre to take place in the modern history of the Republic of India. Oh, and, it’s also the longest-lasting pogrom independent India has ever seen.

We all saw — or heard about, for those of us who couldn’t stomach even watching it — that viral video showing two Kuki-Zomi tribal Christian women who were being paraded by a giant mob, sexually abused on camera, and later gang-raped. As those women later testified, they were picked up by police first and then handed over to the mob.

We’ve heard, sometimes seen, the other horror stories of Kuki-Zo Christians being attacked, driven out from their homes, sent into hiding for fear of joining those who have already been sent to the grave. The horror stories of those who have been gang-raped, yes, and brutalized, gunned down, burned alive, and even beheaded. These attacks are not all just perpetrated by militants — militants who are already often collaborating with the police — but they are also being carried out by the police themselves.

The ongoing anti-Christian massacre in Manipur is taking place with state complicity.

What’s so sad is that this is no surprise for anyone who has been paying attention to the reality of who Modi is, what the BJP (and its parent organization, the RSS) stand for, and how the most extreme violence always accompanies the Hindu nationalist movement that they represent.

Under Modi, we had the 2020 Delhi Pogrom, against Muslims in the capital of the country itself. A pogrom with state complicity, targeted at religious minorities.

In 2008, by the RSS-BJP, we had the Kandhamal Pogrom in the state of Odisha, against Christians. A pogrom with police complicity, targeted at religious minorities. That was the worst anti-Christian violence in the history of modern India, up until the Manipur Horror began in May of this year.

In 2002, under Modi, we had the Gujarat Pogrom, against Muslims. A pogrom with state complicity, targeted at religious minorities. That one was the single worst pogrom to take place in this 21st century.

International experts on the topic have been warning for the past couple of years that genocide is on its way in India unless something changes. Nothing changed. And, well, now, today….

Manipur’s Chief Minister, Biren Singh, has done nothing to quell the violence but, nearly three months into the ongoing massacre which is occurring with complicity of his state forces, he responds to calls for his resignation by saying he won’t leave because his “job is to bring peace.”

Modi has not visited Manipur once during the worst violence of his tenure. Even from Delhi, he hasn’t even said a word against the violence or issued a call for peace. Not a single word in nearly three months.

That’s despicable, but it’s not surprising. Modi, no doubt, agrees with the violence against Christians in Manipur. After all, he oversaw the violence against Muslims in Gujarat.

Violence against religious minorities is part and parcel of the RSS-BJP’s ideological DNA.

Remember how that pogrom in Gujarat was the reason that Modi was banned from our country until his election as prime minister? The ban was never lifted, he just got diplomatic immunity allowing him to bypass it.

Oh, but a man who got banned from America for overseeing an anti-Muslim pogrom and who is today silently sanctioning an anti-Christian pogrom has seen his fortunes flipped. No, Modi’s whitewashed image did not come about because he saw the light and turned a new leaf. Modi stayed the same, but our US government — maybe because they saw how much political clout he has — decided to overlook both the recent history of Gujarat and the current events of Manipur in order to bend over backwards for Modi.

Shockingly, the man who just led the call to roll out the red carpet for Modi in the US Congress — while Manipur had already been burning for six weeks — was Congressman Ro Khanna, in whose district we stand today.

Why was it so shocking that Ro Khanna worked to platform Modi in our US Congress? Ro, you see, had been the one to inspire us all, to give us a ray of hope when he came out against the Hindutva ideology that is suffocating the once great democracy of India.

Four years ago, Ro made history when he stood up and spoke out. He said it was his duty “to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.” That’s the vision of India his grandfather fought for, he said.

Notice the action words in Ro’s statement. “Stand for pluralism” and “speak for equal rights.” Stand and speak. Stand and speak.

Today, the time has come that the rubber needs to meet the road. The time has come for Ro to walk his own talk. The time has come to put up or shut up.

Pluralism and equal rights were the first things to go in the ongoing anti-Christian massacre in Manipur. Why hasn’t Ro stood up and spoke out about that, as he said it was his duty to do?

Walk the talk, Ro.

The fires that still burn hot in Manipur are fueled by Hindutva hatred and rage. Why won’t Ro stand up and speak against that?

Walk the talk, Ro.

Ro once said that he “came to Congress to say that America should always stand for human rights.” That’s beautiful rhetoric. We are dying to see Ro put those words into action by standing for human rights in Manipur.

Walk the talk, Ro.

We still have some glimmers of hope. Ro still claims – claims – to be against Hindutva and for pluralism and equal rights for all. But the longer he waits to walk the talk, the more it starts to sound like hollow rhetoric.

And yet Manipur is still burning.

Modi won’t speak. Our US government won’t utter a peep. And Ro is silent.

For shame!

So what then shall we do?

We ourselves must stand up and speak out, as we are doing right now.

It is left to us to wage the struggle. We start small and local. We start right here in Ro Khanna’s district.

Here is what I chose to do. On July 25, I launched a hunger-strike. It is now six days since a morsel of food has passed my lips. In six days, I have consumed zero calories, and here is my very small and simple demand.

This is my satyagraha. I am on hunger-strike to demand that Ro Khanna go on the floor of the House of Representatives to speak against the ongoing anti-Christian violence in Manipur.

Chant: Hey Ro, Hey Ro, Speak Up for Manipur! x5

But, you see, Ro may not ever speak. So, whether or not this one politician ever stirs himself from the couch long enough to say even a few short lines against the worst anti-Christian violence in the history of modern India, we still have a job to do.

It is up to each of us to determine the best way to do that job. Here is how I will do it.

For Manipur, for the Kuki-Zomi people, for my Christian brothers and sisters who are being slaughtered:

I will kneel, in pain, for Manipur.

I will throw dust on my head, in lamentation, for Manipur.

I will tear my clothes, in anguish, for Manipur.

And then I, and we, in solidarity, will stand up and speak out.

We will tell how the blood of the innocent is crying out from the soil of Manipur for justice. And as we stand, and as we speak out for Manipur, we will cry: no justice, no peace!

Pieter Friedrich is a freelance journalist specializing in analysis of South Asian affairs. He is the author of Sikh Caucus: Siege in Delhi, Surrender in Washington and Saffron Fascists: India’s Hindu Nationalist Rulers as well as co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at

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