All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO) on Thursday urged the state government of Manipur not to go ahead with the reported plans to remove churches in certain place in the state. AMCO took the matter seriously, said leaders of the AMCO who addressed a press conference at ATSUM office in Imphal.
AMCO president Rev Prim Vaiphei strongly condemned the state government for its alleged “step-motherly treatment” towards the Christian community in the state. He said that there are around 44 churches in and around Imphal. Of these, 14 each are in Lamphel and Langol areas, six in Game Village area, nine in Tribal Colony and one in Leimakhong area. “However, no church was included when the state government identified 188 worshiping places for regularisation following the Supreme Court’s guideline/direction for regularisation of existing unauthorized construction in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara among others at public parks and other public places,” he alleged.
The AMCO president then said that the Central government and the state government claimed themselves to be secular but exclusion of any of the churches in the list of worshiping places for regularisation is an act of betrayal against the Christian community. He also said that the government’s reported move to evict Christian worship places is very unfortunate and condemnable.
Rev Vaiphei then appealed to the state government to drop any eviction move on humanitarian grounds as it will hurt the sentiments of the Christians.
He reminded and said that as per a verdict passed by the Supreme Court of India, it was clearly stated that any worship places, temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras and others which existed before 2009 cannot be demolished.
“If the state government goes ahead with the plans of eviction of churches in certain places, Christians will think it to be a step-motherly treatment meted out to the Christians in the state,” he said.
“We will be very much upset if the state government does not pay any heed to the plea of the Christians,” he said.
“Do not victimise the Christians who are working for peace in the region,” he appealed.
The AMCO president then said that the apex body of all Christian organisations (denomination) within Manipur has been urging the state government to review its decision of eviction of the churches for a long time.
Rev Prim Vaiphei then said that the churches at Tribal Colony were standing there since 1974, prior to the Supreme Court guideline/direction with cut-off date as October 29, 2009 for regularisation of existing unauthorized construction in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara among others at public parks and other public places.