The East Kameng Christian Forum (EKCF) has apologized for the incident of setting an altar, images and other materials used by followers of the indigenous faith (Donyi-Poloism) on fire, a video of which had surfaced on social media on July 5, Arunachal Times reported.
In a video surfaced on social media, a Christian Pastor gathered several people in Seppa, East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and burnt idols of local deity Donyi-Polo. He was also heard foul-mouthing the deity and urging others to repeat the same.
As the pastor exhorts people to shun the local deities, a man is seen pouring flammable substance on the idols and sets them on fire. Other people present at the gathering support the pastor as they throw dry grass and leaves on the idols.
The Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh (IFCSAP) had lodged an FIR at the Seppa Police Station against a pastor of the Pentecostal Church, Seppa, identified as Taye Kadu and two others.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (July 8), the EKCF said that the burning of images and alter was unfortunate.
“The EKCF regrets and expresses deepest and sincerest apologies for hurting the religious sentiment of the Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh (IFCSAP) East Kameng unit, the Nyishi Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society, the District Nyedar Namlo Committee, and the All East Kameng Abo Tani Nyibu (Priest) Welfare Association,” the EKCF stated apologetically.
The name ‘Donyi-Polo’ means ‘Sun-Moon’ and was chosen for the religion in the process of its revitalization and institutionalization started in the 1970s in response to inroads made by certain other religions.
The Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1978 prohibits the conversion from one religious faith to any other religious faith by use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means and for matters connected therewith.
According to the 2011 census, around 30.26 per cent of Arunachal Pradesh’s population is Christian, 29.04 per cent Hindu and 26.2 per cent of the populace practice other religions.