Arunachal CM Pema Khandu to repeal anti-conversion law in the state

The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are often spotted speaking about bringing anti-conversion laws in various states to stop religious large number conversions of Hindus and indigenous faith followers. However now taking a completely different stand from other leaders of the party, BJP’s Chief Minister in Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu has decided to eradicate an already existing anti conversion law in Arunachal Pradesh.

“The law could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who heads the state’s BJP government, said on Thursday. The statement came when CM Khandu was speaking at an event organised by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association to mark the 10th death anniversary of Reverend Brother Prem Bhai, a Benedictine missionary.

Brother Prem Bhai who died in Sri Lanka in 2008 had spent 25 years proselytizing in Arunachal Pradesh despite repeated arrests and imprisonment under the existing law which subjected people to two years of imprisonment and Rs 10,000 as fine.

Because of missionaries like Brother Prem and others Arunachal has now become A Christian majority state. As per the 2001 census, Christians were the third largest religious group in the state comprising 18.7% of the total population—behind Hindus (34.6%) and others (30.07%). In 2011, Christians emerged as the largest religious group (30.26%) followed by Hindus (29.04%) and others (26.20%).

Khandu said the law would be brought before the next assembly session for repeal as “it could be misused in future by irresponsible officials”.

“Any misuse of the law leading to torture of people could trigger large scale violence in the state and could break Arunachal into pieces,” Khandu stated.

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