Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the BJP governments in Arunachal Pradesh and the Centre on Tuesday over the way they handled last month’s protests in the state against the proposal to issue Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) to certain communities.
The protests in February had turned violent, and three people were killed in the subsequent police firing. Later, Pema Khandu-led government would announce an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh and a government job for the next of kin of the three, and would reiterate its decision of not proceeding with the PRC issue. Click for more election news
On Tuesday, Gandhi, while addressing a rally in Itanagar, said, “What is the need to shoot at your own people…If someone does not listen to what they say, they try to crush them. But they do not understand that they cannot crush India and the Northeast.”
Gandhi said that Congress would not allow any attack on the culture, language and history of the people of the Northeast and claimed credit for blocking the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill —which has sparked protests across the Northeast — in the Rajya Sabha.
“There could not be a more severe assault on the culture, language and people of the Northeast than the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. This is a way to make you weak, a way to ruin your lives. We will not let the CA Bill be passed…,” he said.
Gandhi said the Congress wants a “dil ka rishta (relationship of the heart)” with the people of the Northeast. He promised that if Congress comes to power, it will reintroduce special status for Arunachal Pradesh, and special industrial policy for the Northeast.
Gandhi also criticised Modi’s foreign policy with China – a country that shares borders with Arunachal Pradesh. “A few years back, the President of China came to India. In Gujarat, he was sitting on a swing with Modi ji – you must have seen on TV. They sat together, had tea and swung on the swing…. At that moment, China’s force entered Doklam. Narendra Modi did not utter a word. Completely silent. After that, Narendra Modi went to China. China’s force is inside Doklam. And Narendra Modi goes to China without an agenda,” he said.
The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly polls are scheduled to take place simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.