The Galo Students’ Union (GSU) has expressed its opposition to the demand for creation of the Mon Autonomous Region (MAR) and asked the state government to instead pursue with the Centre for bringing entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or under Article 371(A) or 371(G).

The GSU said “these articles would provide special rights to all Arunachalees on matters of religious and social practices, customary law, land (ownership, transfer and control) etc under the India Constitution.”

“The Statehood Act of 1987 more particularly Article 371(H) is technically defective as it provides no special rights for the indigenous people of the state. The existing Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 should be strengthened through proper legislation,” the union said.

The GSU said initiatives and persuasions which uplift the state and its people as a whole should be undertaken rather than going after goals which cause resentment among the larger section of the people.

The BEFR prohibits all citizens of India from entering the state without an inner line permit (ILP).

In regards to the MAR demand put forth by the Mon Autonomous Region Demand Committee (MARDC), the students’ union said “though it acknowledges and respects the rights and aspirations of every community/region in the state, such aspirations, however, should be made after proper consensus from all other stakeholders as well.”

The GSU said the yardstick to measure the level of economic development and progress including socio-cultural preservation and development in a multi-tribal state like Arunachal is almost the same for every region.

“The GSU is of the strong opinion that any attempt which leads to mistrust and division among the various tribes should be averted as every community and region in the state aspires for progress, prosperity and cohesive development,” it said.

The union further said demands will keep coming on varied matters but it is up to the state government of the day to decide whether such demands are legitimate or not.

“The onus actually lies with the Government. We are also of the view that the office of the chief minister should be impartial and any government should take all regions and communities along towards the path of progress and development,” the union said.

The GSU said though it has always strived for the pan-Arunachal identity, however, if the state and Central governments pushes for the creation of MAR and Patkai Autonomous Council, then it should also acknowledge the aspirations of the Galo community and approve creation of the Galo Autonomous Council.

“We reject the idea of creating selective autonomous regions in the state which will empower few but deprive many,” the union said.

Following objections to the MAR demand from several quarters, chief minister Pema Khandu had on Wednesday called for a proper discussion to be held on the matter including both the parties supporting and objecting it.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

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