New Delhi: Mizoram Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president, R. Vanramchhuanga, has tendered his resignation, accusing Union and Manipur governments of supporting the burning down of churches in Manipur.
According to Vanramchhuanga, a total of 357 churches, pastors’ quarters, and office buildings of different churches have so far been “burned into ashes by Meitei militants”.
“To protest against this act of criminal injustice to Christians and the Christian religion, I do hereby submit my resignation as the state vice president, of BJP Mizoram Pradesh, with immediate effect,” he said in a letter addressed to Mizoram BJP chief.
He said neither Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh nor Union home minister Amit Shah has said a word condemning the burning down of churches. Not a word of condemnation has come from the Union government too on the burning down of churches. “Therefore I do believe that the massive demolition of Christian Churches in Manipur was supported by the state and Central authorities,” he said in his resignation letter.
Vanramchhuanga told Indian Express that incidents in Manipur “gave credence to allegations of the BJP being an ‘anti-Christian party’”.
“The state leaders, as well as central leaders, should have expressed their condemnation of the miscreants’ acts, and they must do something to safeguard or console the victims… Mizoram is a Christian state but some other parties used to criticise the BJP as an anti-Christian party, which has influenced particularly women believers. The idea has come into effect in Manipur. People can say that the BJP is really an anti-Christian party… As an ordained Church elder, I have to respect the ideas of my people, my Church people. As a Church leader, I should not be involved with the BJP,” he said, explaining his decision to snap ties with the BJP.
The ethnic clash between Meities and Kukis in Manipur also has a religious angle, as the large population of Meities is Hindus, and Kukis and Nagas are Christians. Since the violence broke on May 3, the ethnic strife has claimed over 200 lives, and also resulted in desecration and torching of a number of churches.
The dominant Mizo community of neighbouring Mizoram shares ethnic ties with the Kuki-Zumi community of Manipur. Manipur has 41.39% Hindus, 41.29% Christians, and 8.4% Muslims. The Christian community makes up more than 87% of Mizoram’s population. Since the violence broke out in Manipur, Mizoram has been keeping a close tab on the developments in the state. It has even sheltered over 12,000 displaced Kuki-Zomi people from Manipur.
A number of political leaders in Mizoram, cutting across party lines, including from the BJP, have publicly expressed support “separate administration” demand made by Kuki-Zomis. Even Mizoram BJP leadership, in May, had passed a resolution stating that it found the demand for separate administration “reasonable”.
The BJP has been trying to expand its footprint in Mizoram, where it had won an Assembly seat in the 2018 elections. In April this year, the BJP emerged victorious in the village council election for Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) after beating Mizo National Front (MNF), the ruling party in the state. Mizoram goes to Assembly polls at the end of this year.
This article was first published by TheWire
Also Read: Eighth Cheetah Dies In Kuno: Report