The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) has condemned the frequent incidents of discrimination due to physical appearance meted out to the students and people of north-eastern states who are studying and working in different parts of the country.
“The ongoing nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month against the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out many fault lines and complexity,” AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said.
“Besides many of our students and people being stranded outside due to the lockdown, the one adding more distress and slur is the instances of racial discrimination owing to our Mongoloid facial structure. This emerging human issue cannot be overlooked by the government,” he added.
Dai said the State Government must ensure that every Arunachalee student or public stranded outside is able to get all the minimum basic facilities and it can do so by enlarging the existing committee constituted to look into the issue.
The committee presently has OSD to the chief minister Lham Tashi and special secretary Pranav Tayal as the members.
“The state government should enlarge the committee by including all the legislators and district administration heads to look after and coordinate with the stranded people of their respective constituencies,” Dai said.
Meanwhile, the AAPSU has also put forth some suggestions in front of the government if the lockdown is eventually lifted.
The Union in its representation to chief minister Khandu on Friday said the ban on restricted area and protected area permits (RAP and PAP) and issuance of new inner line permits (ILP) should continue even if the lockdown is lifted.
In terms of the inter-state borders, the Union said lockdown should continue in the areas, however, with certain conditions.
“Those who want to leave the state may be allowed to do so, provided the Assam Government allows entry, however, no re-entry to Arunachal should be allowed until some specified time,” he said.
“Our students who want to come back home may be allowed but the homecoming must be guided and they should be directly sent to quarantine at their homes or quarantine facilities. Home quarantine should be monitored at community level and quarantine must be mandatory for everyone returning from outside the state,” the AAPSU added.
The Union further said if the State Government is unable to facilitate the return of stranded students and other people due to lack of medical facilities, quarantine centers, it must ensure that the ones stranded outside gets all the minimum basic facilities.
“The government must constitute a robust committee including all the elected MLAs and district administration to look after and cooperate with the stranded people. This will in many ways decrease the workload of the state government and it can focus on other sectors,” the AAPSU said.
Entry and exit to be allowed only to essential services and vehicles carrying essential commodities, essential items imported from outside to remain in designated area for at least 72 hours before it is dispatched to distributors/retailers, implementation of odd even rule, continue ban on weekly markets, public, religious and social gatherings and rescheduling of the state public service examinations were the other suggestions put forward by the AAPSU.