IMPHAL: Residents of the Kongpal area in Imphal East on Monday damaged some articles, furniture and makeshift tents in a newly built complex of the Victory Church of India (VCI) as they considered it an insult that the complex has come up adjacent to a historical site. The actual church is yet to be constructed in the complex.
Various clubs and Meira Paibis (women's vigil groups) of Kongpal who have formed a self-explanatory body - Coordinating Committee against the Construction and Establishment of the VCI Complex at Kongpal Nandeibam Leikai - staged a demonstration on Monday. They then went on to vandalize the items and structures in church complex, sources said.
The committee said the setting up of the church complex adjacent to the historical site, where rituals are performed annually, and which is under the Manipur Historical Monument Act, is an insult to the people of the state.
It also imposed a "public curfew" at the spot even as police launched a sharp vigil to thwart unwanted eventualities. There is no report of any arrests yet.
Following the incident, the All Manipur Christian Organization (Amco) urged the government to protect the sanctity of the place of worship.
"We take serious note of the incident at the VCI church complex. The land on which the complex stands has been bought by the functionaries concerned. They have full rights to set up the place of worship," said Amco president Rev Prim Vaiphei. He urged the government to do the needful to protect the victimized church and the complex.
The matter was brought to the notice of the Manipur assembly on Tuesday as legislator Paonam Brojen demanded that the home department look into the matter during zero hour. A Meitei Christian convert, Brojen, representing the Wangjing Tentha constituency in the valley of Thoubal district, said setting up of a church in the valley area would enhance moral education and love between people of the hills and the plains.
Monday's incident came barely 20 days after the state government evicted 26 families and three churches at a small locality in Kabo Leikai in the heart of Imphal to set up a five-star hotel despite a court's ruling maintaining status quo in the area.
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