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Cancellation of Arunachal’s Anti-Conversion Law Garnering Christian Votes

Conversion to another religion, as opposed to the default religion one, is born in is somehow stirring a whirlpool in the secularism. On the one hand our constitution gives us the freedom of practicing any faith, and on the other hand, there are anti-conversion bills too. In 1971, the Christian population in Arunachal Pradesh was <1%, which gradually increased to 30% by 2011, making the religion single-largest community in the state. This has posed a threat to the population of the masses that follow indigenous faiths like Donyi-Polo, Rangfraa and Amik Matai which has witnessed a 50% decline.

Arunachal Pradesh became the 3rd state of India to enact the anti-conversion law, in 1978. The law, “Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act”, prohibits “conversion from one religious faith to any other religious faith by use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means”. 40 years later, Pema Khandu, CM, AP has said that BJP will repeal the law as it undermines secularism.

The promise of providing good education and medical services, in addition to being free from traditional rituals that involve huge expenses included in the rituals, shared Jumyir Basar, Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies.

The primary incentive for the people flocking to Christianity was the “promise of education and good medical services”, said Jumyir Basar of the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies. “There was little belief in traditional healing practices as there were few shamans who could provide good service,” she added. “Besides, many traditional rituals involve expensive sacrifices that people often cannot afford.”