At least 58 people, many of whom are Christian, have been killed amid violence in Manipur, a state in northeastern India.
Some 50 churches were also destroyed or burned in the violence.
According to The Christian Post, the violence was reported in several parts of the state, but mainly in the Imphal Valley and Churachandpur. The Christian victims have identified the attackers as members of the Hindu Meitei ethnic community.
It’s unclear how many Christians have been affected by the violence.
“We are further verifying,” Kuldeep Singh, the chief of the Central Reserve Police Force and security advisor of Manipur, said. “As and when we get it verified and find out that it is because of the violence, we will confirm it.”
Some 10,000 troops have been stationed in Manipur, while about 13,000 individuals sought refuge in Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
Nine of the 16 districts of Manipur are under curfew, and internet services have been suspended in the state.
A public interest litigation petition was filed before the Supreme Court Saturday, alleging that the attacks on tribal communities in Manipur were supported by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
The petition asked for a Special Investigation Team headed by Harekrishna Deka, former Director General of Police of Assam, and monitored by Chief Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei, former Chairman of the Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission to be constituted in order to prosecute the accused.
According to media reports, members of the Meitei community were also attacked.
The Meiteis mainly live in the Imphal Valley, whereas Christians, originating from different tribal communities, live in the neighboring hills.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh reportedly ordered the demolition of churches in Imphal, claiming they were illegally built on government-owned land.
The Meitei community has been seeking legal recognition as a tribal group, which would give them more protection and status.
6 Killed, 25 Churches Burned amid Mob Violence in India
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kathy Kafka
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.