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Apang to discuss demand for repeal of religion Act

Bowing to pressure of the Christian community, the CM has agreed to discuss the demand for repeal of the Freedom of Religion Act at the next meeting of the Cabinet.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Itanagar
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2004 08:29 PM IST

Bowing to pressure of the Christian community, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang on Saturday agreed to discuss the demand for repeal of the Freedom of Religion Act, 1978, at the next meeting of the state Cabinet.

On receiving a memorandum from the Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF)  delegation led by its president Tana Hali at his residence, the Chief Minister immediately recommended to the state home commissioner to process a Cabinet note so that it can be placed before the next meeting of the state Cabinet.

The ACF delegates thanked the Chief Minister for dropping Power Minister and government spokesman Lijum Ronya who had allegedly written a letter to BJP national vice-president Pyarelal Khandelwal opposing party ticket for former Home Minister Neelam Taram whom Ronya termed as "Christian fundamentalist with money power", and requested Apang to repeal the "useless anti-conversion act" by convening a special session of the assembly preferably before the next assembly election due in September.

Though Ronya had since denied having written the letter, the Chief Minister told the delegates that he would recommend his expulsion from the party, as demanded by ACF, to party high command after his guilt is proved by the inquiry committee constituted by the state unit of BJP.

The ACF had organised a huge procession in support of the demand for repeal of the Act earlier in the day.

Addressing a rally, the ACF president Hali called upon all Christian leaders to resign from BJP if the state government did not repeal the act immediately.

Hali referred to the controversial alleged letter of Ronya and said the letter had revealed the hidden agenda of BJP against Christianity.

The rally was held defying BJP's appeal to ACF to reconsider the move to take out the procession as it would take political overtones since the process of parliamentary election had already began.

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