ITANAGAR, June 29: The Indigenous Faith & Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh (IFCSAP) took strong exception to Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s statement to repeal Freedom of Religion Act in the assembly as reported in local print media today.
Condemning the move, IFCSAP GS Bai Taba, in a release, termed it insensible, loaded with minority appeasement motive and detrimental to the growth of indigenous people and their culture.
Stressing on “Loss of culture is loss of identity” adage, the IFCSAP said that the move would lead to degradation of state’s indigenous culture, adding” “there is a large scale apprehension among the people that CM is intentionally or unintentionally bringing state denizens under minority or general category, stripping special privileges the Arunachalees enjoyas scheduled tribes.
The state enjoys special legal safeguards – Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, which regulates ILPs to safeguard the indigenous tribals from marginalisation through unchecked migration from outside. The Freedom of Religion Act 1978 assented by President of India was enacted to safeguard indigenous people from poaching by the established religions such as Hindu, Christian and Islam etc. Repealing the law that safeguard the indigenous people would open floodgates of poaching and it would lead to marginalisation of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh. The Freedom of Religion Act, 1978 which the pseudo secular group takes it as an anti-secular Act, but in true sense a more secular in outlook and practices, as it secures unorganised indigenous tribals faith and culture from marginalisation on communal line by established religious groups.
Thus, the IFCSAP urged the CM to withdraw his statement and not to initiate the repeal processes in the assembly and failure to do that would prompt the IFCSAP to mobilise statewide movement to fight for keeping the Act alive, it threatened.