PRC protest
Protest against granting of PRC to non-APST communities. File image - The Sentinel

A conglomeration of 18 students and civil organizations from the State have threatened to call for a 48-hour Capital bandh from Thursday if the state government fails to drop the decision of granting permanent resident certificates (PRC) to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang.

The organizations, which on Tuesday submitted a 24-hour ultimatum to Chief Minister Pema Khandu in this regard said that the joint high power committee (JHPC) led by Environment and Forest minister Nabam Rebia has submitted its report without proper verification of facts and the same should be rectified before it is tabled before the Assembly.

They also alleged that the state government was adopting a “divide and rule policy for selfish political interests” by deciding to grant PRCs to the non-APST communities.

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

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

Most of these communities are recognised as belonging to the ST communities in Assam.

Chief Minister Khandu, while addressing a public meeting at Vijaynagar in Changlang on December 14 last year, had announced that his government was looking into the odds of PRCs non-APST communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.

He, however, had said the interests of the indigenous population would be taken into consideration and cut-off dates would be set to qualify for permanent resident certificates.

Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein had in the same month said in Assam that granting PRCs to the non-APSTs would be a New Year gift for them.

Both Khandu and Mein have been facing strong oppositions from various sections following the announcement.

After drawing flak from various quarters, the state government had later clarified that it was in no hurry to grant the certificates and it would examine the matter only after receiving the final report from the JHPC constituted to look into the matter and later take it to the cabinet for a decision.

The last meeting of the JHPC was held on February 9 and it suggested “issuing PRCs to eligible non-APSTs of Namsai and Changlang districts in accordance with the guidelines that may be notified by the government.”

Though the state government has remained reserved about the JHPC recommendations, copies of the report submitted to the government by the committee has been circulating in wide in various social media platforms.

This has led to several unions and organizations expressing their resentment and demanding the recommendations and the granting of PRCs to non-APSTs be scrapped.

Meanwhile, members from the 18 originations also sat for a meeting earlier in the day during which they adopted a one-point resolution of “No PRCs to Non –APST in Arunachal Pradesh.”

The conglomeration of the organizations comprise Arunachal Law Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, All Nyishi Students Union, United Arunachal Indigenous People’s Forum, All Tagin Students’ Union, Arunachal Anti-Corruption Union, etc.

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

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.