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After Sri Lanka Serial Blast, Red Alert Sounded in Christian-Dominated Nagaland

Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy in a letter addressed to security agencies said the security scenario in Nagaland needs to be examined in the right perspective as the possibility of such incidents occurring in the state can’t be ruled out.

Biju Kumar Deka | News18

Updated:April 25, 2019, 7:24 PM IST
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After Sri Lanka Serial Blast, Red Alert Sounded in Christian-Dominated Nagaland
File photo of Asia's largest church in Nagaland (Twitter)

Guwahati: After the serial bomb blast in Sri Lanka, the Nagaland government has sounded a red alert throughout the state to avoid any kind of Sri Lanka like situation. On April 21, over 350 people were killed and more than five hundred injured on the attacked by terrorist group Islamic State (IS) on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy has directed the Director General of Police DGP) to review the preparedness in case a similar incident happens in the hill state.

In a letter to DGP, Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) and Joint Director, SIB, the chief secretary wrote, "The bomb blasts that took place in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, needs to be examined in the right perspective as the possibility of such incidents occurring even in Nagaland can’t be ruled out. Director General of Police, Nagaland may, therefore, have a thorough review of the States preparedness on preventing similar incidents in Nagaland".

"Further, an action plan may be prepared to sensitize the public on preventive measures," Temjen Toy said on the letter.

The deadly bombings in Sri Lanka over the weekend followed the pattern of religious terror that has become a grimly familiar phenomenon around the world. The attackers targeted churches on Easter Sunday when Christians would gather in large numbers and remain vulnerable during worship. They also chose crowded and exposed public spaces, including hotels likely to be hosting foreign tourists.

Sri Lankan officials have alleged that at least one local Islamist group was involved in the attacks, and suggested that the attacks may have been carried out in retaliation for the white-nationalist shooting spree at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in last March.

North Eastern state Nagaland's population is 1.978 million, out of which 88 per cent are Christians. The census of 2011 recorded the state's Christian population at 1,739,651, making it one of the three Christian-majority states in India along with Meghalaya and Mizoram. The state has a very high church attendance rate in both urban and rural areas. Huge churches dominate the skylines of Wokha, Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung districts in the state.

Nagaland is known as ‘the only predominantly Baptist state in the world’ and ‘the most Baptist state in the world’. Among Christians, Baptists constitute more than 75 per cent of the state's population, thus making it more Baptist (on a percentage basis) than Mississippi in the southern United States, where 55 per cent of the population is Baptist, and Texas which is 51 per cent Baptist.

Catholics are found in significant numbers in parts of Phek district, Wokha district and Kohima district as well as in the urban areas of Kohima and Dimapur.

Christianity arrived in Nagaland in the early 19th century. The American Baptist Naga mission grew out of the Assam mission in 1836. Miles Bronson, Nathan Brown and other Christian missionaries working out of Jaipur to bring Christianity to the Indian subcontinent, saw the opportunity for gaining converts since Indian’s northeast was principally animist and folk religion-driven. Along with other tribal regions of the northeast, the people of Nagaland accepted Christianity.

Hinduism, Islam and Jainism are minority religions in Nagaland, at 8.75%, 2.47% and 0.13% of the population respectively.

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