Since July 15, an economic blockade on National Highways 39 and 53 in Manipur, India, has hindered all passing trucks from carrying goods into and out of the state. Price hikes in petroleum and food have left many villagers, including Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries, in need of assistance.
The blockade was imposed by the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) in order to "demand implementation of policies meant for tribals," said ATSUM Information and Publicity Secretary, Gaisingam. According to ATSUM, the rights of the tribal people have been ignored by the Manipur government. ATSUM has threatened that the blockade will go on indefinitely until change is witnessed.
One particular demand of ATSUM is for action on the proposal of a site by the government for the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University. So far, the group said, all correspondences on this issue have been disregarded.
Another issue involves an act that sets aside a certain number of government jobs for the tribals and minorities. ATSUM claims that the act has some "misleading sections and clauses that can be misinterpreted to the disadvantage of the tribal people."
Despite the declaration that the blockade will continue, it was relaxed for 24 hours starting July 27, allowing 70 trucks carrying goods to be escorted by the state security force. But it has since been resumed.
A new consequence of the blockade has developed affecting the Christians living in the area.
"The government of Manipur has decided to evict the churches that are located at the government quarters," a GFA field correspondent wrote.
The specific reasons for this action are currently unknown, but the government has decided to evict 11 out of 45 churches situated on its property.
The president of the All Manipur Christian Organization and other Christian leaders in the area are meeting with the Christian ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to ask that the decision be revoked.
Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries working in the area have yet to be affected by this new development.
They ask that you pray for a quick and peaceful resolution, and that God will speak to the Christian state leaders, the MLAs and the ministers and use them effectively for His glory. Pray also for the missionaries in Manipur, that God will strengthen and encourage them during this time.