ITANAGAR, NOVEMBER 3: Thousands of Christian believers of the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) on Monday joined a prayer rally-cum-peaceful dharna organized by the ‘Arunachal Christian Forum’ (ACF) demanding that the State Government must allot land for the construction of a Church at Tawang.
Speaking to reporters, ACF president TokoTeki said that two years ago, the Tawang district administration had sent the file for the approval of land allotment to the Department concerned.
“It is the concern of the Land Department Minister to sign and approve the allotment. But to my surprise the allotment has been denied for the last two years for which we had to organize this dharna today”, he said.
He also informed that the Minister for Home and Rural Works Department (RWD) had assured to resolve the issue at the earliest by constituting a committee. “We believe that the demand of the believers will be heard and acted upon. If the committee formed by the State Government fails to meet our demand, we will continue our democratic movement”, he added. While appealing to a few vested groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of Tawang to maintain ‘secularism’ of Indian Constitution in the district, Teki informed that there is no problem with the Buddhist community leaders of the district in the construction of the Church.
Teki also said that through RTI (Right to Information), it was found that an NGO by the name ‘Bharat TibbatSahyogManch’ has also complained about the construction of the Church. He requested the NGO not to interfere in the matter and create misunderstanding and differences among the peaceful and religious people of the State.
Meanwhile reacting to the dharna, the ‘Indigenous Faith & Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh’ (IFCSAP) alleged that the land belongs to the Government and has been occupied illegally for the construction of the Church.
IFCSAP further alleged that the land has been occupied without proper allotment and is disturbing the sanctity of the law-abiding people of the Tawang district. The ACF is making it a ‘State issue’ which actually should have been avoided, it further added. It also questioned the need to create another Church in the district when the people of Tawang already permitted three churches to run in the district.
The IFCSAP also stated that the ACF demanding land allotment for church construction at Tawang is unacceptable and condemnable by society.
Further, the IFCSAP added that if the State Government is keen to issue land allotment to any religious groups then the State Government should also redress all the pending allotment already applied for indigenous prayer centres across the State without any further delay. IFCSAP also reiterated its demand for immediate implementation of the ‘Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religious Act-1978’ in letter and spirit to safeguard the culture, customs, ancestral faith and belief system of Indigenous people of the State.
(Courtesy: The Sentinel)