International Ministries

Turbulence Roils North East India : PRAY

August 12, 2013 Journal
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We are living in one of the most unique regions of the world!   Sadly, some of the wonderful attributes contributing to that uniqueness are also sources of ongoing conflict in the region.  Again this summer Assam is experiencing eruptions of violent protests with loss of life and property.   Last summer the conflicts arose between the Boro Tribals and Muslims.  These past two weeks the battles have been on several fronts involving several different people groups. 

Here’s Some Background -

Strategically situated, this region is known to have been an important physical and cultural bridge between India, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, forging a “complex transition zone of linguistic, racial and religious streams.”[1] It has been an area of “civilizational intercourse through history, with the ‘indigenous tribes’ representing successive waves of immigrants from both East and West.”[2]

 Consequently, North East India has an extremely diverse population with more than 160 Scheduled Tribes belonging to five different ethnic groups, and a large and diverse non-tribal population as well. The ‘scheduled tribes’ only refer to the tribes listed in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, and do not reflect the actual complexity of the ethnic mosaic of the region, which comprehends over 400 distinct tribal and sub-tribal groupings.[3]

CURRENT CONFLICT

 Two weeks ago the Government of India made a decision to create a new state, granting the statehood demands of the Telengana people in Andhra Pradesh.  Immediately upon that pronouncement protests erupted!   Within the state of Assam there are 3 tribes demanding separate statehood.  At present these groups exercise self-governance as Autonomous Districts receiving funding for local development.  Among those the Boro Tribe is demanding “Boroland”, the Karbi Anglong tribe and the Dimasas are jointly  demanding a separate state.

 These protests have become violent with protestors destroying many government buildings and the police retaliating with force, firing and killing two youths.   The situation remains tense in all these areas as these groups have called successive “Bandhs” (protests) which shutter all businesses, close roads and disrupt railway communication, stopping the flow of goods not only in Assam but Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur as well.

 NEI is further affected by the closure of all roads in the “Chicken’s Neck” (the small strip of land that connects NEI with the main body of India) by the Nepali population demanding the formation of “Gorkhaland” .  All of this impacts the supply of food and other items for this region. 

 PLEASE PRAY FOR:

PEACE TO PREVAIL: that all parties would seek resolution through non-violent dialogue rather than the destructive demonstrations.

WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT for all the community & political leaders to be able to come together to seek a solution

GRACE AND DISCERNMENT for the church leaders of these peoples to be a voice of peace and healing in the midst of the conflict.

GOD'S GRACIOUS PROVISION for those experiencing lack &/or travel disruption due to all the blockades.

Thank you for your prayers!  If you would like further information please feel free to contact us.