Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday reiterated that the state government would not take the recommendations of a high-level committee to grant permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six non-local communities in the Namsai and Changlang districts of the state. Khandu's statement came after the deaths of at least two people amid widespread protests against the proposal. Reportedly, police opened fire at protesters on Sunday when they tried to march to the chief minister's residence.
Khandu said, "Today an order has been issued via the Chief Secretary that we won't take up the PRC matter. I would like to assure the people in Arunachal Pradesh that the government will not take up the matter even in the future. This is a clear message."
He also appealed to the agitators to end the protests because "their demand had already been accepted" on Friday and said that directives had been issued for a "detailed investigation" because the violence had persisted. "I request (protesters) not to hold protests and dharnas and to cooperate with the government. I've given directives that a detailed investigation is essential. Government's stand over the issue was clear, but there were still incidents of violence."
"I've formed a commissioner-level investigating committee. It is necessary for the truth to be brought out before the public. We feel that there is somebody's hand behind these incidents. Arunachal Pradesh is otherwise a peaceful state," Khandu was quoted by ANI as saying.
The six communities include five non-Arunachal Pradesh STs Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis and Mishings, and the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.
The protesters, who are agitating against the proposal to grant PRC to communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts, are demanding that the PRC issue be resolved once and for all, along with calling for the resignation of the chief minister and the unconditional release of the 40-odd detained agitators, The Indian Express reported. The report added that the Arunachal unit of the Congress has demanded the President's Rule in the state by dismissing the BJP government.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said that the state government had passed an order to not accept the recommendations of the Joint High-Powered Committee to grant the communities with the PRC. He also blamed the Congress for "instigating" a section of people.
The central government has dispatched at least 1,000 paramilitary personnel to the state to help the administration in maintaining law and order. "Everyone must come together without blaming each other for the sake of peace. It's very unfortunate that innocent lives were lost in the violence," Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said.
He also stated that Khandu has clarified that the state government was not bring the bill on PRC but only tabling the report of the Nabam Rebia-led committee consisting of members and student organisations.
Rijiju alleged that the Congress has supported and "instigated" non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lekang area to fight for PRC but "misguided" innocent people in Itanagar.
#WATCH Permanent residence certificate row: Violence broke out in Itanagar during protests against state’s decision to grant permanent resident certificates to non-#ArunachalPradesh Scheduled Tribes of Namsai & Chanaglang; Deputy CM Chowna Mein's private house also vandalised. pic.twitter.com/FrcmqWbL8c
— ANI (@ANI) February 24, 2019
On Sunday, protesters defied curfew and allegedly set ablaze the private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein. Reportedly they also ransacked the office of the deputy commissioner as part of the protest. They also set on fire a large number of vehicles parked in the compound of the DC's office, PTI reported.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday appealed to the people to remain calm and maintain peace. He also spoke to Khandu, who reportedly briefed him about the situation in the state.
The Joint High Power Committee, after holding parleys with the stakeholders, recommended granting PRC to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but has been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.
The proposals evoked resentment among several community-based groups and students' organisations, who claimed that the rights and the interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the state government accepts them.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 10:53:59 IST