The state government, particularly Chief Minister Pema Khandu, is yet to respond to the ultimatum served to the government by the Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF) on 9 October to resolve the Tawang Christian Revival church issue. The ACF had said it would be forced to launch a stir if the government failed to resolve the issue. The Tawang administration had stopped the construction of the Christian Revival church over a land issue and arrested the pastor, triggering protest from the Christian community of the state over what they have termed ‘persecution’.
The issue is a highly sensitive one and for the first time in recent memory, such religious controversy has broken out. Conflicts among various tribes are quite common in the state, but a conflict on religious ground is rare. Therefore, there is a lot of spotlight on the present case. The Christian community sees the move to oppose the construction of the church in Tawang as the handiwork of the RSS/BJP. On their part, the people of Tawang fear that constructing a church might lead to a spurt in religious conversion, thereby threatening the Buddhist religion, which is followed by the majority of the people there. Adding to this, social media is full of religious hatred with right-wing Hindutva supporters and Christians making claims and counterclaims.
The situation may turn volatile if not dealt with properly. The chief minister should perhaps take a cue from the anti-PRC agitation, when violence rocked the state. A spark neglected burns the house, and before the situation turns from bad to worse, the CM should personally intervene and try to work out a solution. In the meanwhile, everyone should maintain peace and stop propagating further hatred on social media. It is not going to help anyone, especially the ordinary citizens. Though it might help politicians divert attention from the real developmental issues concerning the state.