Arunachal: ACF Appeals State Govt to Resolve Tawang Church Issue


The Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF) has appealed to the government to resolve the Tawang church issue and to give directives to the district administration on the matter. A formal letter regarding this has been submitted to Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday, the ACF said.

ACF president Toko Teki informed that the final sitting for the issue was held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Environment & Forest Minister Mama Natung.

Accordingly, a three-member team, composed of Natung himself, MLA cum Advisor to Home Affairs Nyamar Karbak and Taliha MLA Nyato Dukam will be submitting the report after celebration of the Nyokum festival.

The committee had visited Tawang in November 2021.

Speaking on the demand for Christians to surrender their ST status, Teki referred to the 1975 circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, wherein it states that if a person claims to be a scheduled tribe, he or she may profess any religion as notified by the Government of India.

Teki also referred to a petition from the state of Kerala vs the Supreme Court headed by Judge BN Khare, SK Kapadia and SB Sinha, which observed that ‘merely by a change of religion, a person does not cease to be a scheduled tribe.’

It is to be mentioned that, on 6 October 2020, Tawang Revival church pastor Joseph Singhi was arrested by the Tawang police on the basis of an FIR lodged by the district land revenue & survey officer, allegedly for illegally constructing a church.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation from the Christian community in the state.

Singhi was later released on bail and the statements of eight other members who had accompanied him were recorded by the police.

On 12 November, 2020 the state government constituted a three-member committee, headed by WRD Minister Mama Natung, to work out a solution to the Tawang church issue. The other members are MLAs Nyamar Karbak and Nyato Dukam.

As per the order issued by the political department, the team assessed ground situation and held detailed discussions with all the stakeholders.

The committee suggested ways and means to find a solution in order to ensure peace and harmony in the state. It also devised a suitable mechanism for peaceful implementation of the solution.


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