NEW DELHI, May 15 (PTI): The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Monday deplored the violence in Manipur and appealed for peace in the state.
In a video message, VHP national secretary general Milind Parande said not only churches but temples too have been “destroyed” during the violent clashes between two communities in the state.
“The violence in Manipur is deplorable. VHP appeals for peace,” Parande said, adding, “This violence must stop immediately”. Parande said a “wrong impression” has been created that only churches were damaged in the violence.
“Over 40 temples of the Meitei community have also been destroyed in the violence,” he said and cautioned against the spread of “false narrative that only the Churches have been attacked”.
During the violence, several state properties have also been “destroyed”, he added.
The VHP leader appealed to the “Hindu society” to come forward and rebuild the destroyed temples.
The VHP is serving the affected people and providing them food and health care services, he added.
Violent clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 in protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) Status.
The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
At least 73 people were killed and 231 sustained injuries. As many as 1,700 houses, including religious places, were also burnt during the violence in the state, according to officials.
Over 5,800 people have fled from the violence-hit state to Mizoram and taken shelter in various districts, officials said on Sunday.
A total of 5,822 people, belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo community, are lodged at temporary relief camps across six states of Mizoram, they added.
In a statement, the VHP called for exercising restraint for the restoration of peace in the state.
“Anti-national and anti-social elements must be controlled,” the VHP demanded, adding, “Elements and organisation trying to disrupt peace in the region must be taken to task strictly”.