UCA News
India’s Manipur marks one year of ethnic violence with shutdown

Tribal people in Manipur state of northeast India marked the first anniversary of the deadly ethnic violence with a daylong shutdown to remember the victims and call for justice

Published: May 10, 2024 11:34 AM GMT

Updated: May 10, 2024 11:35 AM GMT

Christian-majority tribal groups in Manipur state of northeast India marked the first anniversary of a deadly sectarian conflict with a daylong shutdown last Friday.

In response to a call from the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, members of the indigenous Kuki-Zo community hoisted black flags on their households while closing all businesses, institutions, and markets as a “mark of remembrance and solidarity.”

A government official, however, claimed the shutdown had no impact on routine life in the state but confirmed the security forces were on high alert as a “preventive measure.” The clashes between the majority Hindu Meitei community and the predominantly Christian Kuki-Zo tribal people started on May 3 last year.

The violence continued for months, leaving at least 219 people dead and about 60,000 displaced. Tribal women were reportedly raped while hundreds of Christian houses, over 350 churches and institutions were burnt to ashes.

Security personnel stand guard as voters queue up to cast their ballot outside a polling station during India's general election, in Ukhrul district of Manipur state on April 26.

Security personnel stand guard as voters queue up to cast their ballot outside a polling station during India's general election, in Ukhrul district of Manipur state on April 26. (Photo: AFP)

The Pontificate: Contribute to help UCA News

The authorities in Nepal have asked people to take precautionary measures amid worsening air pollution. People have been urged to wear masks and avoid exposure to harmful outdoor air pollution.

The capital Kathmandu and other cities have seen a rise in the number of people visiting hospitals complaining of respiratory and cardiovascular problems due to the pollution.

A general view shows high levels of air pollution amid dense smog in Nepal's capital city Kathmandu on April 29. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP)

Environmental data showed Kathmandu tops the global list of cities with high levels of air pollution. According to Swiss air-quality monitoring group IQAir, Kathmandu’s air has reached unhealthy levels for several days since April. Sometimes, it tops the list of the most polluted cities, ahead of cities like the Indian capital New Delhi.

Nepal was ranked the eighth most polluted country on the IQAir ranking in 2023 followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Nepal’s poor air quality is blamed on widespread forest fires, agricultural burnings, and extended dry spells of winter.

A court in the Philippine national capital region of Manila sentenced the confessed killer of a prominent radio journalist on Monday. Joel Escorial was convicted after he was found guilty of gunning down Percival Mabasa on Oct. 3, 2022, near his home. Escorial later surrendered to the police and confessed to the crime.

Following the murder, state prosecutors identified former Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag as the primary suspect and others as accomplices in the crime. The alleged mastermind, Bantang is still at large. Media reported that Mabasa was targeted after he exposed the alleged illegal activities of Bantag.

Family members grieve the loss of Filipino journalist Percival Mabasa at their home in Las Pinas in this file image. (Photo: Jam Sta Rosa/AFP)

The 66-year-old journalist worked for DWBL radio station and was a vocal critic of controversial policies and actions of President Ferdinand Marcos and his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte such as the anti-drug war.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders ranks the Philippines as a dangerous place for journalists because of a series of killings and attacks on media workers with impunity.

Cambodian authorities have detained another prominent trade union leader amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the country. Morm Rithy, vice president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation was arrested on Tuesday night.

Earlier on the same day, Rithy was convicted in absentia for a two-year-old Facebook post that resulted in an 18-month prison term for charges of incitement and discrediting judicial decisions. His imprisonment came before the federation’s leadership elections scheduled to be held later this month.

Workers hold banners and flags as they march along a street to mark the International Labour Day in Phnom Penh on May 1. Morm Rithy who was arrested on May 7 was a prominent speaker during commemorations to mark the Labour Day. (Photo: AFP)

The conviction was registered without Rithy or his lawyer present in court. Trial by absentia is normally reserved for defendants living abroad. Rithy’s conviction and detention follow similar charges launched against trade unionists prompting an outcry from human rights groups.

On May 3, Cambodia’s Supreme Court upheld a conviction against Chhim Sithar and seven others over a strike at the NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh. Rights groups say about 60 political prisoners are being held in Cambodia.

About three million people have been displaced in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup and consequent fighting between the military and resistance forces.

The figure was revealed by the United Nations on Monday. Most displaced people were forced to flee their homes due to the conflict after the military coup toppled a democratically elected government.

Kayah people gathering at a delivery of drinking water by the charity Clean Yangon at a camp for internally displaced people in Demoso township, in Myanmar's eastern Kayah state. (Photo: AFP)

In a statement, the UN said a humanitarian crisis is deepening in the Southeast Asian nation, and a severe funding shortfall was hampering its relief efforts, particularly ahead of the May-June cyclone season.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project estimated that at least 50,000 people have been killed in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup, including at least 8,000 civilians.

The speaker of South Korea’s National Assembly said the East Asian nation needs to push for a multiple citizenship law to tackle the alarmingly low birth rate in the country. Kim Jin-pyo made the remarks during his visit to the United States last Saturday when he met with people representing various Korean organizations.

Mission In Asia: Contribute to help UCA News

He said letting people have citizenship in more than one country could be a solution to South Korea’s declining birth rate. The lawmaker pointed out that he was advocating for overseas Koreans to be eligible to apply for multiple citizenship once they reach the age of 40.

South Korea’s National Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo (left) talks to the president of Cambodia's National Assembly Khuon Sudary (right) during a meeting in Phnom Penh on Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo: AFP)

South Korea is bracing for an impending demographic crisis due to a falling birthrate and rising elderly population.

In 2022, the birth rate dropped to a record low of 0.7 percent. About 18.4 percent of the nation’s estimated 51.5 million population are aged 65 and above.

Indonesian police have arrested four Muslims for their alleged role in an attack on Catholic students who prayed the rosary in a residential area on the outskirts of the national capital Jakarta. The suspects were presented before the media on Tuesday.

The suspects and others in a residential area in Banten province are accused of attacking 12 Catholic students from Pamulang University while they were conducting the traditional rosary service from house to house on May 5.

Police present four Muslim men who attacked Catholic students for praying the rosary in a residential area, in Jakarta on May 7. (Photo: Supplied)

Two female students were injured and one Muslim man who defended the students was assaulted. The students alleged that the head of a neighborhood association asked them to stop worship in a residential area.

Indonesia’s constitution grants freedom of religion and prohibits acts of ethno-religious intolerance. However, hardline Muslim groups have been accused of hate speech and attacks on religious minorities and their religious practices in recent years.

Catholics and Buddhists in Taiwan banded together to organize a concert to support the victims of a devastating earthquake that hit the island last month.

Titled “Religious Prayer Concert for the 0403 Earthquake: Musical Blessings from the Pacific Shore,” the charity event was held in the capital Taipei last Sunday. It was a collaboration between the Hualien Catholic Diocese and the United Association of Humanistic Buddhism, Chunghua.

Taiwanese Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hualien leads a prayer at the interfaith concert for victims of the earthquake on May 5. (Photo: Archdiocese of Taipei)

The concert was originally planned to take place in Hualien but was relocated to Taipei due to ongoing aftershocks and disruptions in transportation. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in 25 years, caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The quake reportedly killed 9 and injured dozens of people. Hualien was one of the worst-hit regions. In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan and killed 2,400, making it the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Asian ecumenical forum, Christian Conference of Asia, has paid tribute to Dr. Helen M. Hill following the death of the Australian educator and ecumenist, who promoted human rights in the Asia Pacific regions for decades. Hill died in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday at the age of 79.

Hill was instrumental in developing the leadership skills of many young people in the Asia Pacific region as well as advocating for the rights and dignity of oppressed people in colonized countries.

Dr. Helen M. Hill (Photo: Christian Conference of Asia)

For more than two decades, Hill was a teacher at Victoria University in Melbourne where she introduced Pacific sociology units and BA degree courses on International Community Development.

She assisted the university's work in Timor-Leste and in building links with Pacific Island universities. Hill supervised theses on topics related to Timor-Leste, where she worked for decades. 

Hong Kong's Court of Appeal banned the popular protest song "Glory to Hong Kong" on Wednesday. The protest song was penned during massive pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

The song was already illegal under Hong Kong’s Beijing-imposed draconian national security law.

This photo taken on May 13, 2020, shows anti-government protesters singing the protest anthem 'Glory to Hong Kong' as they gather in a shopping mall in Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP)

The song grew massively popular during the huge and at times violent protests and was also secretly recorded by an anonymous orchestra.

Its defiant lyrics incorporate the key protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times."

The ban comes after a campaign by the city's authorities against the song, which has seen them demand that it be removed from internet search results and content-sharing platforms.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing administration alleged the song was weaponized to instigate violent protests that engulfed the city since 2019.

"Glory to Hong Kong" is the first song to be banned in Hong Kong since the British handover of the island in 1997 with promises of a higher degree of autonomy, freedom, and rights.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
1 Comments on this Story
How Manipur became Christian majority. You tricked them to Christinanity. Nagas and Zos are also Christian. Why Kukies fight with them. You are squarely responsible by yor conversion sgenda

Explore UCA News

UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia