Riots in Manipur: Bnei Menashe update
Hard to believe that it’s been more than a month since the onset of riots, on May 3, 2023, in the state of Manipur between the Meitei tribe and the Kuki tribe. The Bnei Menashe Jews in northeast India are ethnically of the Kuki tribe. The Meiteis burned houses in entire villages, the people first fled to the mountains, and, in fact, some of them are still considered missing. Many came to Churachandpur and some to Mizoram (to date about 50 families).
As a result of the tribal war, Bnei Menashe suffered greatly. In Imphal alone, about 150 houses, a synagogue and a Torah scroll were burned.
It is extremely difficult to even get access to photos, and Indian residents are prohibited from posting photos on any platform.
In Churachandpur, where the largest Bnei Menashe community exists, Yoel Bayta, father of 4 children, was murdered. Since the Kukis are the majority of the population there, no houses were burned and as they are relatively durable, many families from the battle areas have come to the Churachandpur district.
Now, in June, it seems that the situation is only getting worse. There is no possibility of moving between the places, young people are required to volunteer and enlist in the army to protect the Kuki tribe, and there are places where only women and children can go, but from a security point of view this is also complicated because they can be stopped or attacked if they walk or travel by bus.
Our main initiatives now are sending food, medicine and clothing – something we are doing non-stop. In addition, we send money and collect donations inside India for food for the refugees. A large food donation that we collected arrived in the last few days and we have been distributing: 5000 kg of rice, 2500 kg of lentils, 2500 kg of sugar, 200 kg of salt, 200 kg of corn flour, 100 kg of milk powder and 300 bottles of oil.
It is necessary to take care of the people who came to Mizoram by renting houses and equipment for them. The cost of renting an apartment per month is about $70. At the moment, the people are staying with local families and integrating as well as they can.
Also, our team assessment has come to the recommendation to build a village in Churachandpur that will contain about a hundred simple houses. The cost of building each house is about $1000.
If and when possible, transportation will be organized in a planned and safe manner, to bring people to a safe place, but at the moment this is unfortunately not possible.
We are doing whatever we can. You can help! Please make your generous donation to: Bnei Menashe Relief Fund.