The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has called upon the State and Central government to demonstrate a strong ‘political will’ to resolve ‘once and for all’ the insurgency issue that has been tormenting the Tirap, Longding and Changlang (TLC) districts of Arunachal Pradesh for long.
Reiterating its demand for immediate expulsion of all insurgent groups and underground elements operating in the TLC region, the AAPSU and its federal units on Saturday staged a sit-in protest across the State during which the union also demanded that the lives of the indigenous people living in the region be secured.
The protest of the AAPSU comes weeks after Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others were brutally killed by suspected insurgents in Tirap district on May 21 while one zilla parishad member Seliam Wangsa and National People’s Party worker Jaley Anna were also murdered by the militants in the same region earlier this year.
“The people of TLC have been living in fear for more than a decade. Incidents of unabated killings, demand of ransom, extortion, taxing government employees and locals by the underground elements is not a new thing for the people living in the TLC region. The government has to show a strong political will to resolve this issue,” AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said.
Dai, who was addressing the demonstrators at the Indira Gandhi Park here, said that “insurgency in the TLC region is not a home grown issue, but one which has been imported for political ambitions.”
The people of the state know who bought these underground elements inside the State. The ones (political leaders) who introduced Arunachal to insurgency are politically irrelevant in today’s date, but the seed that they sowed has started to bear fruits and due to that, the innocent public is suffering, Dai said.
Dai also went on to allege that the legislators of the region are hand in gloves with the militants.
The AAPSU general secretary also took a dig at home minister Bamang Felix who had recently stated the State government was unaware of the militants collecting a certain percentage of money as taxes from the locals and government employees in the region.
Dai said, “The home minister by stating this is indirectly encouraging such practices.”
“We understand that Felix has just taken over the charge of home minister and he may not be properly briefed on the prevailing scenario of the TLC districts, however, this “open secret” of militants collecting money is well known to all.
Dai said that not only the present government but all the previous ones are well aware of this fact.
The AAPSU also stated that the state government’s announcements to absorb the kith’s and kin of the ones killed during the May 21 incident in government jobs and ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh each was only a temporary solution.
Tihang Afi, a PhD student from Rajiv Gandhi University and a resident of Tirap district said that the problem which the people of TLC region are facing is something that cannot be understood by others.
“In the late 1980’s, the TLC region, especially Tirap district witnessed an era of swift development. However, the picture suddenly changed in the later part of 1990 after insurgency stepped in. Following that, the locals started to witness cases of extortion, kidnappings, murders etc. These instances automatically and suddenly hampered the development process. The major areas which got hit were education, infrastructure and health,” Tihang said.