Indian Americans, allies in 6 US cities stage protests against anti-Kuki violence in Manipur - IAMC

Indian Americans, allies in 6 US cities stage protests against anti-Kuki violence in Manipur

Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2023) – Indian Americans and allies from diverse backgrounds protested in six US cities over the weekend to condemn the ongoing violence in India’s northeastern state of Manipur, which has left at least 145 dead and 50,000 displaced.

The brunt of the violence has predominantly impacted Manipur’s Christian Kuki-Zomi community, leading to the destruction of thousands of Kuki-owned homes and hundreds of churches. Disturbingly, there have been reports of rape being used as a tool of violence against Kuki women. Recently, a horrifying video surfaced online, showing two Kuki women being paraded naked and assaulted by hundreds of men.

Protests took place in Dallas and Sugar Land cities in Texas; Fremont, Palo Alto, and San Diego in California; and Detroit, Michigan.

At the Gandhi Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas, Indian Americans from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds flocked to a protest co-organized by the North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA), the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), the Federation of Indian American Christians of North America (FIACONA), Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas, and other groups.



At the event, Florence Lowe, head of NAMTA, called on the international community to take action against the violence in Manipur.

“How many more churches have to burn, how many more people have to get killed, for you to start saying something?” she asked the crowd.

“If we are united — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Hindus who don’t support Hindutva — we will defeat Hindutva tomorrow,” said Akheel Mohammed, representing IAMC’s Dallas chapter.

Another protest was held in Fremont, California, co-organized by NAMTA, IAMC, and Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC).



Niang Hangzo, the founding member of NAMTA, recounted how all 28 members of her family in Manipur, including her elderly mother, were forced to flee their homes from violent mobs.

“We [the Kuki-Zomi] are disproportionately impacted by this violence, even though we are only sixteen percent of the population.,” said Hangzo. “This violence is still ongoing – our people are constantly, relentlessly under attack. We need global voices to raise this issue.”

Also speaking was Annie Koruga, an officer of the Alameda County Democratic Party.

“The Democratic Party has a long history of standing with people who are experiencing oppression,” she said. “We’re here in solidarity today with all of the women and people of Manipur who are experiencing systemic violence.”

Pieter Friedrich, a journalist and activist, criticized Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for remaining largely silent on the issue.

Adding that US officials are also complicit in whitewashing Modi’s apathy towards minorities, Friedrich said, “Shockingly, the man who led the call for the red carpet to be rolled out for Modi [during his recent US visit] – while Manipur had already been burning for six weeks – was Congressman Ro Khanna, in whose district we are standing today.”

In Michigan, Indian Americans and allies marched through the streets of Detroit as part of a protest organized by NAMTA, IAMC, the India Catholic Association (ICA) of Michigan, C.A.P.I., and the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA). Protesters held signs with slogans such as “Stop weaponizing women’s bodies,” “Stop killing Dalits,” and “Kuki-Zomi, we are with you.”



“The principles of liberty, fraternity, and equality must be upheld to substantialize the foundation of a just and inclusive nation. Today, we see those foundations being destroyed deliberately,” said one of the speakers at the protest.

In San Diego, California, Indian Americans marched with placards with slogans such as “Bring rapists to justice,” “We stand with Kuki-Zomis, targets of state-sponsored pogroms,” and comparisons between Bilkis Bano, a survivor of gang-rape during the 2002 anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat state, and the numerous Kuki women who have faced sexual violence in Manipur.

“It is clear that the Modi government doesn’t care that they’ve failed the Kuki-Zomi,” said Mohamed Nasrullah, one of the organizers of the protest. “And because of this, the US government should re-evaluate just how much they want to keep celebrating Modi as an ally.”