ITANAGAR, Jun 30: Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s announcement to repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion (APFR) Act, 1978, continues to draw mixed reactions from various sections of the state.
In a press communique copy; the Galo Indigenous Faith and Cultural Council (GIFCC) on Saturday strongly opposed Pema’s proposal to repeal the act in the next assembly session, and demanded that the chief minister withdraw his statement and apologize to the indigenous faith believers of the state.
“Such a statement has hurt the sentiments of the tribal people,” it said.
Terming Pema’s statement “a historical blunder,” the GIFCC said “This could be the prime hidden agenda of the present BJP-led governments (state and centre), which are against the sentiments of indigenous faith believers of Arunachal Pradesh.
“This indicates that the present state government is playing vote politics, which may cause communal disharmony among innocent tribal people of the state and completely erase the ancestral identity of the tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh,” it added.
On the other hand, the Arunachal Baptist Church Council (ABCC) has welcomed the chief minister’s declaration, and said “though it required 40 long years for the government of Arunachal Pradesh to realize that enactment of the APFR Act, 1978, was not a wise decision, it is better late than never.
“The APFR Act has failed to deliver for it has never been practically enforced in Arunachal Pradesh. It is in fact a dead law of Arunachal Pradesh. Its enactment in Arunachal Pradesh was simply a thoughtless copy of the initiatives in the mainland states. If our state would have needed the law, then it could have been practically enforced after its enactment. Its non-enforcement till date establishes the fact that this law is not at all required in this state,” it said.
Thanking Pema for his “wisdom and the bold declaration,” the ABCC said, “The stinking carcass of the APFR Act is now expected to be given a much-awaited burial by the next assembly session.
“The repeal of the APFR Act is certainly going to be welcomed with cheer and joy by the Christian community in the state and repair most of the damages done by certain activists who have tarnished the secular image of ruling political party,” it added.
Pema had made the announcement on Thursday while attending a programme organized by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association at Karsingsa.