After three days of vociferous protests and violence, which resulted in one death and the torching of the residence of Arunachal Pradesh deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, the state government on Sunday passed an order rejecting the recommendations of the Joint High-Powered Committee to grant permanent resident certificates to six tribal communities.
“Arunachal Pradesh state government has already passed an order not to accept PRC as recommended by JHPC. 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,” Union Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted.
Arunachal Pradesh State Govt has already passed an order not to accept PRC as recommended by JHPC. 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.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 24, 2019
Accusing the Congress of “instigating” a section of people, Rijiju said, “From the beginning, I have strongly urged the state government not to grant PRC unless people are convinced of full protection of indigenous rights. We must stand united.”
Earlier in the day, protesters set ablaze the residence of the deputy Chief Minister and also vandalised the office of the deputy commissioner of Itanagar. The incident happened despite an indefinite curfew being clamped in Itanagar and Naharlagun after protesters resorted to stone pelting on Saturday, in which 35 people, including 24 police personnel, were injured.
Explained: What is the PRC protest in Arunachal Pradesh
The Central government has dispatched 1,000 paramilitary personnel to the state to help the administration in maintaining law and order.
Besides ransacking the deputy commissioner’s office, the protesters also set ablaze a large number of vehicles parked in the compound and also attacked the Itanagar Police station. Commuters too faced hurdles after the road leading to Naharlagun railway station was blocked by the agitators.
The JHPC proposal to grant permanent resident certificates to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but have been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades, have evoked resentment among several community-based groups and students’ organisations.
They have claimed that the rights and interests of indigenous people would be compromised if the state government accepts them. The six communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis, Mishings and Gorkhas.
The recommendation of the JHPC was supposed to be tabled in the Assembly on Saturday but was not tabled as the Speaker adjourned the House sine die.