The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has called upon the State Government to immediately constitute an Empowered Study Group (ESG) to look into the matter of offspring of an Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) mother and non-APST father enjoying APST benefits in the State.
The students’ union which had recently conducted a consultative meeting in Itanagar with several organisations, including community-based organisations in this regard, said the ESG, once formed, should also study the quantum of punishments to be fixed for those issuing/certifying APST statuses to such individuals and other important aspects related to it.
In a representation submitted to the Chief Minister’s office on Friday, the AAPSU said there are numerous cases of such offspring availing APST and other benefits exclusively meant for the indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh and the same has been reported to the students’ body from various quarters.
Highlighting the modus operandi employed by certain sections of non-local businessmen in regards to land holding and other subject matters in the State, the Union in its letter wrote, “After marrying local women, these people purchase land and other movable/ immovable assets in their wives name. These wives surprisingly never change and adopt their husband’s surname. In case, their son/daughter is married again to a local, the entire property is transferred to their APST daughter/son-in-law. This vicious circle has been going on in numerous parts of the State.”
The Union added, “Ours is a protected State with almost 100 per cent tribal population. One is entitled to APST status by birth which cannot be diluted due to marriage with a non-APST or by way of conversion of religion. However, that does not entail that the son/daughter born to an APST mother and a non-APST father shall be eligible for APST and other rights at par with the indigenous people of the State.”
The AAPSU further stated that there is an urgent need to come up with a concrete mechanism to be put in place to tackle the growing menace which is slowly destabilising the socio-cultural fabric of the State. Besides demanding for the constitution of the Empowered Study Group, the Union also demanded the introduction of appropriate laws in the State Assembly to look into the offspring issue and compulsory marriage registration of all APST women marrying non-Arunachalees.