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Day after clashes over PRC: Arunachal relatively calm, CM Pema Khandu calls for peace

In Arunachal, PRC has been a long-pending demand of members of six non-tribal communities mainly inhabiting Namsai and Changlang districts.

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati | Updated: February 26, 2019 6:05:57 am
Arunachal CM Pema Khandu, Pema Khandu, computer education Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu (File Photo)

A day after two people died in clashes with police during protests over the issue of Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) to six communities, Arunachal Pradesh remained relatively calm on Monday with no incident of violence reported.

The state government, meanwhile, has reiterated that it would not take up the PRC issue.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in a statement on Monday, “State govt shall henceforth never take up the issue of PRC matter keeping (in mind) the sentiments of the people.” Earlier on Friday, Khandu had tweeted, “Keeping in view the present situation, Government has decided not to take (up) the PRC matter in current Assembly Session.”

The chief minister on Monday held meetings with several organisations, political parties and students’ outfits and sought their support to bring peace to the state capital, a statement said. He appealed the organisations to help create favourable atmosphere in the capital city for normal life to resume, said the statement.

But the Congress said that it “boycotted” the all-party meet. “We have boycotted the all-party meet. Why will we go? The CM has lost his credibility. People have died, many are injured and property damaged. The CM and his cabinet should resign,” Takam Sanjay, president of the state unit of the Congress, told The Indian Express.

The chief minister on Monday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh and a government job for the next of kin of each of three people killed since Thursday. He announced a relief of Rs 10 lakh for those injured. The Arunachal Pradesh cabinet also met on Monday and upheld the decision of not taking up the PRC issue.

Itanagar SP M Harshavardhan told The Indian Express, “No major incidences of violence occurred on Monday. Roadblocks occurred at a few places, but that is very minimal considering what unfolded over the last few days. Mobile internet ban and curfew remain in place; they are likely to be lifted as soon as the situation improves.”

On Sunday, protesters set ablaze the private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, attempted to attack the residence of Khandu, vandalised government offices, shopping complexes and malls, set ablaze vehicles, and damaged public property.

In Arunachal, PRC has been a long-pending demand of members of six non-tribal communities mainly inhabiting Namsai and Changlang districts. The demand earlier ran into trouble with powerful groups opposing it.

Last year, the state government announced that PRC will be granted to the communities by January. Following opposition, the government said it will examine the issue after receiving a report from the Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) chaired by senior minister Nabam Rebia.

The committee’s recommendations — which, sources say, were in favour of granting PRC — were expected to be tabled in Assembly last week, but were not tabled owing to public opinion against it.

Khandu said on Monday, “The issue in the Assembly was only for discussion and to make JHPC report on PRC public during a short discussion. The matter was no way in the form of a Bill or resolution.”

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