Arunachal govt backtracks on PRC

Arunachal govt backtracks on PRC
An irate mob storming the house of deputy chief minister Chowna Mein on Sunday.
ITANAGAR, FEB 24 (AGENCIES): | Publish Date: 2/25/2019 12:00:00 AM IST

 2 more killed in police firing; DY. CM, govt houses burnt by mob

The Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday froze its decision on the controversial permanent residence certificate (PRC) that triggered widespread violence for a third day, leading to the torching of the deputy chief minister’s house.

A worried chief minister, Pema Khandu convened an all-party meeting on Sunday night to discuss the prevailing situation which Home Minster Kumar Waii described to as “very tense and uncontrollable”.

The Arunachal Pradesh government climbed down in the face of the violent protests and declared that it will not implement the report granting PRC to six communities living along the Assam-Arunachal border.

State chief secretary Satya Gopal said: “Considering the present situation in respect of the matter pertaining to grant of PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe residents of Namsai and Changlang districts, the government has decided that no further action shall be taken in respect of grant of PRC.”

On Sunday, two more youths were killed in police firing when over 3000 strong mob tried to storm Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu’s residence in Itanagar. With this the death toll has risen to three. 

A pitched battle started outside the private residence of Khandu when a mob attempting to target it was confronted by the security forces. The police opened fire, and reports stated that two people were killed while many were injured. 

Earlier, in the afternoon, an agitated mob stormed the private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, ransacked it and set it on fire. They also torched a large number of vehicles parked in the compound of his office. The mob later burnt down Itanagar DC’s office. Places like Itanagar police station, car showrooms were also vandalized by the mob.

Curfew has been put in place at Itanagar and adjoining areas and the army has also been deployed. 

Home Ministry has dispatched 10 additional companies of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police force to Itanagar and other violence-hit places, an official said.

Four Army columns have also been deployed in Itanagar while authorities have suspended Internet services across the state to avoid the spread of fake news via social media platforms. The violence had started on Friday during a 48-hour shutdown by students in protest against the Khandu government’s decision to table a report in the state assembly on the matter. The police had opened fire as protesters threw stones at government vehicles and offices.

A man who tried to enter the civil secretariat died in the firing, another suffered a bullet injury in his leg. Several security personnel and protesters were also injured in clashes that broke out in Naharlagun.

The state government had considered issuing PRC to six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APSTs) living in the Namsai and Changlang districts. The communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis, Mishings and Gorkhas. Most of them are recognised as Scheduled Tribes in neighbouring Assam. 

The protesters contend that the committee- headed by Environment and Forest minister Nabam Rebia- submitted its report without verifying the facts properly, and it should be rectified before being tabled in the assembly.


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