Amid violent protests and clashes all over the state, the BJP-led Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday scrapped the decision of granting permanent resident certificates (PRC) to sixon - Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang districts. Those six communities inlcude Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis and Mishings.
Taking to Twitter, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said, "Arunachal Pradesh State Govt has already passed an order not to accept PRC as recommended by JHPC. Everyone must come together without blaming each other for the sake of peace. It's very unfortunate that innocent lives were lost in the violence".
Arunachal Pradesh State Govt has already passed an order not to accept PRC as recommended by JHPC. Everyone must come together without blaming each other for the sake of peace. It's very unfortunate that innocent lives were lost in the violence.— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 24, 2019
Early in the day, situation took a violent turn in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar over the government's decision to grant Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) to non-tribals residing in Namsai and Changlang districts of the state. The decision of Pema Khandu government had evoked strong resentment from a prominent tribal group, who claimed that the rights and the interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the state government accepts those non-Arunachal communities. They also demanded the state government to immediately retract the statement.
Defying curfew, agitators allegedly set ablaze the private residence of Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and ransacked the office of the deputy commissioner in Itanagar on Sunday to protest against recommendations to grant permanent resident certificates to the communities. A large number of people marched through streets here damaging public property and vehicles after two persons who were injured in police firing succumbed to injuries. The protesters set ablaze the private residence of the deputy chief minister at Niti Vihar and ransacked the office of the deputy commissioner of Itanagar.
They also set on fire a large number of vehicles parked in the compound of the DC's office. The protesters also attacked the Itanagar Police station and several public properties in the state capital, police said. The agitators also blocked the road leading to the Naharlagun railway station as a result many passengers, including patients, were held up at the station since Sunday morning. An indefinite curfew was clamped in Itanagar and Naharlagun on Saturday as protesters resorted to stone pelting in which 35 people, including 24 police personnel, were injured.
The Army had also conducted flag marches in Itanagar and Naharlagun on Saturday. Internet services remained suspended in Itanagar and Naharlagun. All markets, petrol pumps and shops were closed and most of the ATMs in the state capital were out of cash, police said. Over 60 vehicles, including many police vehicles, were set ablaze and over 150 vehicles were damaged by the protesters since Friday, they said. The agitators also damaged the stage of the Itanagar International Film Festival at the Indira Gandhi Park here. The organisers later called off the film festival.
What is PRC?
The PRC became a major issue in the state in recent times with all the community based organisations, including students bodies, opposing the move which compelled the state government to constitute the committee with members from students unions and CBOs besides MPs and opposition MLAs, to study the issue and submit a report within six months.
Around 300-400 households of non-tribal communities have settled in Namsai and Changlang districts of the state over several decades and have been demanding the PRCs.
Six non-tribal communities reside in Lekang constituency under Namsai district, which Mein represents. Two non-tribal communities reside in Vijaynagar (Changlang district), followed by four in Namsai, two in Chowkham (Namsai) and four in Diyun-Bordumsa (Changlang).