“Favouritism is a sin. Love your neighbour as yourself.”
[May.09.2023] On the 6th (local time), PTI News reported the death toll from ethnic group clashes that started a few days ago between the Meitei community which makes up 60% of the population of the State and another ethnic group in India’s remote northeast rose to 54. PTI News reported the death toll after counting the number of bodies in various hospitals in the northeast provinces of Manipur, including Imphal and Churachandpur.
The authorities responded by imposing a curfew in eight regions of the state and blocking the internet, however, as the unrest did not subside, the military and riot police were dispatched urgently the day before.
And the authorities gave shoot-on-sight orders in “extreme cases” to contain the riot. In addition, more than 23,000 residents in areas of severe unrest have been moved to safer areas. Prime Minister N. Viren Singh of Manipur said, “The government is taking every measure to maintain law and order. We will protect the lives and properties of the villagers.”
The riot started on the 20th of last month when the High Court of Manipur issued a decision to include the Meitei tribe in a designated tribe (ST). Currently, the Indian government is giving various benefits such as university admissions, civil servant recruitment, and quota allocations related to land purchases to the underprivileged, the lower castes.
The Dalits (untouchables), considers as the lowest, who are not even included in the caste classification, are categorised as designated castes (SC), and minor tribes are categorised as ST and receive benefits. However, when the Meitei tribe which makes up 60% of the population of the area was newly included in the ST by the court decision, a fierce protest exploded, as those who had already been incorporated into the ST viewed the decision as disadvantageous to them.
In India, the policy of supporting the lower castes has been the source of continuous social unrest since independence in 1947. The lower caste support quota system has been a “hot potato” in Indian society, and middle and upper castes claimed that they’ve received reverse discrimination in terms of employment and higher education even though they obtained better grades.
In fact, in 2016, middle castes in India protested violently against the application of the quota system only for the lower castes, and in the process, more than 30 people were killed. (Source: Yonhap News)
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:8-9)
God, please rebuke this land, where racism and conflicts continue because of the caste system created for human greed, with the word of truth and quiet the unrest. May You break down this caste system that anger and depress people by dividing vulnerable people groups with evil laws that is against God’s principle and demolish Satan’s devices. I pray that the gospel of the Lord, who gave up the only son for sinners with love without discrimination will be heard in India so that their obedience of loving their neighbours as themselves be heard by nations.