Christian Revival churches seek govt intervention in Tawang case

ROING, Oct 12: The Dibang Valley & Lower Dibang Valley District Council of Christian Revival Churches (DV& LDVDCRC) has condemned “the actions of the district administration of Tawang in obstructing the construction of a church building in the town,” and appealed to the state government to intervene and redress the impasse without further delay.

“The incident of forceful persecutions over Christians of Tawang by the local administration is a clear violation of Article 25-28 of the Indian constitution, which guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of religion. The word ‘secularism’ inserted in the preamble clarifies that the state shall have no religion of its own, thereby the state shall not discriminate or favour any person based on religious affiliations. However, the district administration of Tawang is acting contrary to the constitutional norms,” the DV&LDVDCRC said in a press note.

It claimed that the local authorities “in brazen violation of the judicial norms, obstructed church constructions and arrested pastor Joseph Singhi without any official order/warrant,” and lamented that no disciplinary action has been initiated against the erring officials till date by the government.

Seeking the government’s intervention, the council cautioned that if the state government fails to solve the deadlock, “the organization will be compelled to go forward with a democratic movement in the district as well as the state capital, partnering with the APCRCC, Itanagar.”

The Upper Subansiri District Christian Revival Church Council (USDCRCC) has expressed deep resentment over the recent arrest of the Christian Revival church pastor in Tawang by the administration there.

In a press release, the USDCRCC on Monday said the Tawang administration created “undue obstruction against reconstruction of CRC,” and added that the Tawang DA’s action was a serious violation and curtailment of the fundamental right guaranteed to the people under Article 25 of the Indian constitution.

“This action is an indirect act of killing the ideals of secularism enshrined in the preamble to the constitution,” it said, adding that the Tawang administration’s act showed its prejudice towards the Christian community.

“The matter of fact is that the church in Tawang was established in 1999 and since then, numerous efforts have been made to obtain allotment for the land but the administration has failed to issue the same till date,” the USDCRCC said, and added that Christians should be allowed to have a church in Tawang, just like the people of other religions have their places of worship there.

“It may be reiterated that here in our district (Upper Subansiri), there are numbers of temples, mosques, gurudwaras, namghar, namlo, gompas, churches, etc, coexisting peacefully without any problem since ages,” it said.

“This type of peaceful coexistence can also be allowed in Tawang district,” the USDCRCC added, and urged the state government to intervene in the matter to resolve the issue at the earliest.

On 6 October, Tawang Revival church pastor Joseph Singhi was reportedly 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 there.

The church is located behind the district planning officer’s quarters in AIR Colony in Tawang. The Christian community claims that it has been occupying the plot since 1999 and the church was built in the same year. It is said that they had applied for land allotment, which is reportedly not approved yet.