Assam CM’s ‘discriminatory statements’ deeply disturbing: ABCC

Denounces 'Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill 2024' as targeting Christians

Kohima, February 29 (MExN): The Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC) today expressed deep concern over the reported statements made by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding the "Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill 2024,” recently passed by the State Assembly.  It further denounced the Bill as targeting Christians.

“The Council is deeply disturbed by such blatant religious bigotry from a leading figure of the North East whose leadership and influence have far-reaching effects in the region he represents and beyond,” the ABCC stated in a release issued by its Executive Director, Rev Dr Rachülie Vihienuo.

The Minister's statement is “self-contradictory, misleading, and discriminatory and has serious communal overtones, and it plainly reflects the motive of the bill,” it said.

The ABCC’s Council meeting on February 27 also strongly denounced the Bill, recently introduced in the Assam Assembly, it added.

According to the council, the Bill aims at 'eliminating non-scientific healing practices' and seeks to criminalize 'magical healing.’ 

However, the ABCC asserted that the Bill is “nothing less than an attempt to target Christians whose long historical holistic endeavor of serving humanity and upliftment of the poor, the marginalized and the downtrodden is an indisputable fact.”

It further pointed out that the Christian healing ministry involves both scientific as well as divine practices (through prayer).

“We pray to God, the Creator and the Sustainer of life for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, but this has nothing to do with 'magical healing,'” it added.

The ABCC also stated it is “more misleading is to equate 'magical healing' with proselytization” and added: “Christians pray to God for healing in response to human suffering and pain; not to proselytize.”

Accordingly, it flayed the ‘discriminatory statements’ by Assam CM whereby he reportedly said, among other things, that "We are going to pilot this bill because we believe the religious status quo is very important for a proper balance."

In this context, the ABCC asserted that “such discriminatory statements cannot bring about 'religious status quo' and achieve 'proper balance,' rather it will simply alienate us from each other and further polarize communities.”

“The Council prays that the sister-states of the North East India exemplify what it means to live in peaceful co-existence and show the way in a nation marred by division and intolerance,” it added.
As per reports, the Assam Assembly passed the Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024, on the last day of its budget session on February 26.