ITANAGAR, Dec 1: Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that the Tawang church issue is not a religious issue but a land issue.
He was responding to queries from reporters after the Indigenous Faith Day celebration at the indigenous affairs department ground here on Tuesday.
“First of all, it is not a religious issue. This is totally a land matter, but people are calling it the ‘church issue’ and giving it a religious angle,” he said.
“India as a whole and Arunachal particularly is a very secular state. It is basically a land issue, but since the matter has moved far ahead, the government has constituted a committee, which has been directed to submit its finding within six months,” the CM said.
On 6 October, 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.
On 12 November, 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 will assess the ground situation and hold detailed discussions with all the stakeholders.
The committee will suggest ways and means to find a solution to the current impasse in order to ensure peace and harmony in the state. It will also devise a suitable mechanism for peaceful implementation of the arrived solution and submit its findings within six months.