Itanagar: The Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF) has announced to launch the ‘Tawang Jao, Church Banao’ movement from September 9 if the state government fails to resolve the contentious Tawang church issue.

The ACF, which has been demanding the approval of land allotment for the construction of a church in Tawang, a district which is dominated by the Monpa (Buddhist) community, has announced the first stage of a peaceful dharna here on August 19.

Toko Teki, the forum’s president on Wednesday said the decision to adopt the resolution and accordingly implement it was taken in a recent meeting held with the district-based Church organisations of all denominations.

“Hundreds of Christian believers will participate in the ‘Tawang Jao, Church Banao’ movement that will be headed by the president of Arunachal Pradesh Christian Revival Church Council (APCRCC) and the president of Himalayan Church as a member under the guidance of ACF executive members,” Teki said.

The ACF leader, who was addressing a news conference at the Press Club here, said the forum has been compelled to opt for the democratic movement as the state government has not granted permission to construct the church in the Tawang district.

“If there is any kind of unrest during the ‘Tawang Jao, Church Banao’ movement, the state government will be solely responsible,” Teki said while clarifying that the ACF is not against the people of Tawang or other religious groups but the decision of the state government.

He also appealed to the people of Tawang to cooperate with the forum.

ACF information and public relations secretary, Taring Mama said if the state government continues to turn a deaf ear to its democratic movements, it will send a clear message that the government is unwilling to permit the construction of the church.

He appealed to the people of the Tawang district to support the cause and allow the construction of the church rather than interfering in the matter.

The ACF had last month staged protest marches and dharnas across 21 districts of the state to register their protest against the state government constituted high-level committee’s report that allegedly went against the forum.

Among others, the 3-member panel headed by Environment and Forest minister Mama Natung had recommended shifting the church to another location in Tawang and adherence to the provisions of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 2003.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu had last month assured to give his best to find an amicable solution to the church issue.

He had, however, clarified that the DC concerned would be the one who takes the final call in the matter of land. 

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