Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s announcement to repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion (APFR) Act, 1978, has drawn mixed reactions from various sections of the State.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, the Galo Indigenous Faith and Cultural Council (GIFCC) strongly opposed Khandu’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.
Terming Khandu’s statement ‘a historical blunder’, the GIFCC said, “This could be the prime hidden agenda of the present BJP-led governments (both in State and at the 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,” stated the GIFCC.
On the contrary, 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.
Notably, the Chief Minister had made the announcement on Thursday while attending a programme organized by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association at Karsingsa.