ITANAGAR, Terming the incident disturbing, the EKO Dumbing Forest Development Society (EDFDS) on Friday strongly condemned the alleged torching of Buddhist Gonpa at Tuting last October. In a press statement, EDFDS stated that such an incident should not have happened.
Following the incident, the society informed that rumours are doing rounds on the social media blaming the Simong community behind the arson incident.
“There are rumours and allegations doing rounds on social media blaming the Simong community for the incident. The allegations are damaging, the image of peace-loving people of Simong community and Upper Siang district as whole” the society stated claiming allegations are totally baseless and fabricated leveled by few vested interest people.
“The culprits do not belong to any community, whoever is responsible behind the incident should be taken action as per the law established. But should not blame any community” the EDFDS said.
The society further reiterated that the place where the incident occurred is called Eko Dumbing, falls under the Simong community of Adi tribe, on which Memba/Khamba communities are called Riutala.
The Eko Dumbing is a sacred religious valued place for the Simong community and people of the village offer prayers to Eko Dumbing and in every four years, the Simong community celebrate a religious festival called Jihang at Eko Dumbing area, it added.
The society claimed the Eko Dumbing area had never been a disputed land, as the Memba and Khamba communities living in the vicinity sought permission from Simong community elders to offer prayers and the Simong community had no objection for offering prayers as the ownership of land was never disputed.
It further claimed in August 2021, the Simong community people found three structures including a small log cabin Gonpa erected in the area without knowledge of the community. The structures were built in an area where Simong people offer rituals before collecting medicinal value wild herbs.
The society said that illegal structures erected by the Buddhist communities had hurt the religious sentiment of the Simong community and subsequent notice was served to them to remove the structures which the Buddhist communities refused to remove.
It also claimed Simong community agreed the terms placed by Deputy Commissioner Upper Siang for shifting of Gonpa from the particular area to alternate site to resolve the dispute amicably. However, in the meantime an incident of alleged torching occurred which derailed the entire peaceful resolution process.
Meanwhile, on being contacted Health and Family Welfare Minister Alo Libang appealed to the both Buddhist and Simong communities to maintain peace and harmony and refrain from provoking the situation without knowing the ground situation. Libang who is a local MLA said, “ Without knowing the ground reality, I appeal to the people of both communities to refrain from giving and commenting provocative statements as it would escalate the situation” said Minister Alo Libang.
Libang also appealed to the non-native people of both Buddhist and Adi communities to stop interfering in the issue, instead they should help in resolving the matter peacefully instead of provoking.
The district police sources have informed that the situation is under control and the matter is currently under investigation.