Pema Khandu
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu addressing a gathering on Thursday. Image - Northeast Now Representational image

Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s recent announcement that his government was considering issuing permanent resident certificates (PRC) to six Non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts has evoked strong resentment from various organizations of the State.

All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), the apex students’ union body of State on Sunday expressed surprise over the government’s hasty announcement of granting New Year sops to the Non-APSTS and slammed the government for not even consulting the joint high power committee (JHPC) which has been constituted to look into the matter.

“It is astonishing to learn the State government is in a hurry to make the announcement without even keeping the JHPC in concern. Any announcement related to PRC should be made only after a proper legislation is passed in the State Assembly and there is proper demarcation of land.

Arunachal being a constitutionally protected State should take all measures before issuing PRCs to the non-APSTs. Without a proper approach the subject may contradict with the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873 which is enforced in the State,” Union president Hawa Bagang said.

AAPSU is a member of the JHPC.

The chief minister’s recent statement made without the concern of JHPC is not appropriate. The state government and its representatives should refrain from making such hasty statements on sensitive State subjects. The government must exercise utmost caution and refrain from politicking until the JHPC report is finalized, Bagang said.

The AAPSU further condemned the political leaders who have allegedly turned the PRC issue into political one for gaining political mileage.

It also opposed chief minister Pema Khandu’s recent announcement to issue PRCs to the Gorkha community of Vijaynagar.

“The Gorkhas of Vijaynagar were brought in the State for a temporary and on lease settlement for 30 years. The deed of agreement on lease will be over by 2020. Therefore, no inch of land can be allotted to these outsiders in the State,” Tobom Dai, the general secretary of the union said.

The AAPSU has also urged the State government to prepare a dossier before issuing APST status to the Yobin community.

Khandu while addressing a public meeting at Vijaynagar in Changlang on Friday had announced that his government is looking upon the odds on granting PRCs to the Non-APST communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts.

He, however, had assured that the interests of the indigenous tribal population will be taken cared and cut off dates will be set to qualify for PRC.

The All Papum Pare District Students’ Union (APPDSU) and Arunachal Pradesh Abotani Community Confederation (APACC), on the other hand, has condemned Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein for making a similar statement and termed it an ‘irresponsible’ one.

The APPDSU has demanded Mein to withdraw his statement at the earliest and cautioned of a mass democratic movement against the government if he fails to do so while the APACC questioned the deputy chief minister on what basis had he made the statement.

Deputy Chief Minister Mein said in Assam recently that granting PRCs to the non-tribals would be a New Year gift for them.

Representatives from a number of communities that are not recognized as Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the State have been demanding that they should be provided with PRCs as they have been living in the State for decades.

Amongst those communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans and Mishings.

Most of these communities are recognized as belonging to the Scheduled Tribe communities in Assam.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com

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