Alleging that law and order has collapsed in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress on Monday demanded the immediate sacking of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, his deputy Chowna Mein and Union minister Kiren Rijiju and sought an inquiry by a sitting high court judge into the firing on “unarmed protesters” in the state.
The Congress also asked the central government to act immediately to control the situation and warned that Arunachal Pradesh “should not be made into another Jammu and Kashmir”.
Holding Chief Minister Khandu and Rijiju responsible for the volatile situation arising out of protests on the issue of permanent residence certificates (PRCs) in the state, Congress leaders Luizinho Faleiro, Nabam Tuki and Takam Sanjoy alleged that there was complete collapse of law and order in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Congress leaders from the state also met Union Home Secretary and officials of the Home Ministry and presented a memorandum to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, asking him to “take responsibility” and act on the situation in the border state.
Violent protests broke out in Arunachal Pradesh, where assembly elections are due in April-May, over recommendations of granting PRCs to six communities.
The Congress leaders said three people have already lost their lives in police firing and 15 have sustained serious bullet injuries and the situation is continuing to deteriorate.
“Why are you wanting to make Arunachal Pradesh into second Kashmir…. Don’t try to make Northeast into another Jammu and Kashmir. We have enough problems already….Don’t play with the sentiments of the people of Northeast,” Faleiro said.
The Congress delegation said the situation remains volatile and further escalation is expected with the violence and unrest rapidly spreading to other parts of the state. “The state government’s law and order machinery is in a state of complete collapse,” they alleged in the memorandum.
“Under the circumstances, it has become imperative that we approach your good office to immediately order constitution of a Commission of Enquiry on firing and killing of innocent and unarmed protestors, headed preferably by a sitting Judge of the High Court or a Retired Chief Justice of the High Court.
“We also demand the immediate sacking of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju and state deputy chief minister Chowna Mein,” they said.
Condemning the violence and killings, Arunachal Pradesh Congress said the state cannot afford to lose more innocent lives.
“It is a matter of shame that your deputy, the Union Minister of Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who represents the Arunachal West Parliamentary Constituency, has been indifferent to the sensitivities of the people, the deaths and the ongoing unrest.
“Instead, he has been indulging in politicizing the issue, discarding blatantly his constitutional obligations to safeguard the interests and safety of his people,” the memorandum alleged.
“The chief minister of the state and his entire cabinet is out of the state capital and has shown no seriousness in tackling the situation. They have lost the moral right to govern, pushing the socio-political condition of the state to an all time low,” it alleged.
Faleiro, the AICC general secretary in-charge of north eastern states, described the situation in Arunachal Pradesh as “grim” and “very sad”.
“A simple issue which they called a surprise gift – the PRC has angered the people of Arunachal Pradesh….When you try to impose something without discussion, without dialogue then this is what happens,” he said.
Faleiro, a former Goa chief minister, claimed that there is shortage of food in the state and people are suffering, while “nobody is there to bring sanity as the chief minister and his ministers have gone underground”.
“The Governor must sack the chief minister and his deputy. The Union government must sack its minister Kiren Rijiju because this is happening in his constituency,” he said.
State Congress chief Sanjoy Takam alleged that after “hijacking” the Congress government with “false allurements” of bringing money to the state, the BJP and RSS are “now forcing their ideology on people of the state”.
“Why are you creating such a situation? We are against this kind of divisive policies,” he said.
Former state chief minister Nabam Tuki said the PRC has been a long pending issue and the situation should have been handled sensitively by taking all stakeholders together.
“There is no security of citizens…. the government is not visible. The public has reached the chief minister and deputy chief minister’s residences and there is fire everywhere,” he said.
Tuki also said that the Speaker has adjourned the assembly sine die even when the chief minister and ministers were not present there. “The vote on account is also questionable now,” he said.
“Such incidents, if allowed to continue unabated, will threaten the very foundations of Arunachal Pradesh. We hope that in understanding this, you will consider our demands and implement them at the earliest,” the memorandum said.
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