Religion of love showing true colours:
Tikhak Buddhists of Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday observed Buddha Purnima under the vigil of security forces. An armed group, said to belong to the NSCN-IM, has allegedly threatened them to convert to Christianity or face dire consequences.
“The people in Wangnong and nearby villages have been passing sleepless nights. They are all Buddhists. An armed militant group belonging to the NSCN(IM) has ordered them to convert to Christianity,” said Ven Aggadhamma, the highest religious leader of the Buddhists in Changlang and Tirap districts.
Aggadhamma said that on May 13, a group of armed men came to the village, gathered the village head and other senior members of the village and ordered them to embrace Christianity. “These persons came to the village the next day too and set a deadline of seven days to convert,” Aggadhamma told The Indian Express from Namsai in Changlang over the telephone on Thursday.
Aggadhamma immediately sent a memorandum to the state government, copies of which were also sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, Union Home Ministry, the President as well as the Minority Commission. Aggadhamma also rushed to the Assam Rifles posted in the district and ensured that patrol parties were sent out to the area.
Though the deadline to convert expired on May 21, no untoward incident has happened so far. “But the armed group have now questioned the villagers as to why they informed the Assam Rifles,” Aggadhamma said.
“Changlang and Tirap have been on the NSCN(IM) map since long. As their slogan is ‘Nagalim for Christ’, they are forcibly trying to convert the people,” the Buddhist monk said.
It was in May 2004 that some armed groups first started threatening Buddhist villagers of the two districts to convert. “Since then this has been happening almost every alternate year,” he said.
The NSCN(IM) has, however, dismissed the allegation as baseless and motivated. “The NSCN believes in freedom of religion and has never ever indulged in any act of terrorising people in the name of religion. We believe in peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths,” a spokesman of the NSCN(IM) said over the telephone from Nagaland.