Arunachal erupts against centre’s decision to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees

Violence in Capital

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Sep 19: Voicing support for the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) in its movement against granting citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs settled in Arunachal Pradesh, organisations across the state came out on to the streets and enforced the 12-hour bandh called by the apex students’ union on Tuesday.

At Capital Complex

While almost all districts held a peaceful bandh, the 12-hour state wide bandh took a violent turn in the Capital when protesters clashed with security forces and resorted to damaging public property.
Reportedly, some protesters began the bandh from as early as 3 AM in the capital and partially burnt an APSTS bus which had arrived to the Capital from Aalo at around 4.30 AM.
At Bank Tinali in Itanagar, a clash broke out between protesters and security forces when a mob pelted stones and broke windows of a police bus. The security forces lathi-charged at the protesters, in which, a few were reportedly injured.
Owing to the clash, an AAPSU member reportedly received grievous injuries and was admitted to RKM Hospital.
However, the Capital SP said that the city police was not involved in the lathi-charge.
The police had brought in three persons in connection with the stone pelting to the Itanagar Police Station, but did not make any arrests.
Further, the vehicle of a magistrate on duty and an SIB bus were also damaged at Chandranagar. A police headquarter vehicle was also damaged, which left a police official injured.
Accordingly, the police have registered four cases in this regard.
Ambulances and private vehicles parked on the roadside were also not spared by the agitators.
A sedan car was also reportedly pulled out from a garage and burnt down near Hollongi tri-junction, while an SUV was first damaged and then turned over near Zero-point Tinali.
Vehicular movement was brought to a standstill with several paths across the twin capital blocked by burning tyres and heavy make-shift barricades.
Towards the evening, some protesters were also headed for the Chief Minister’s residence, but were intercepted by the police.
At Namsai: The bandh witnessed total shut down of the district and cooperation from the denizens. The bandh was put into effect with the active initiation of the All Namsai District Students Union and All Tai Khamti Singpho Students Union, in collaboration with Joint Action Committee on Chakma Hajong Issue Namsai, All Namsai Area Youth Association, Arunachal Students Federation Namsai unit, Chongkham Youth Welfare Association and Lathao Youth Association.

At Namsai

Members of the All Changlang District Students Union and Longding District Students Union, who are studying in various institutes of Namsai, also participated in the bandh.
The dawn to dusk bandh saw vehicles off the road, while offices, schools and business establishments were closed for the entire duration of the bandh period.
The bandh-calling activists also burnt tyres on the roads to cause blockade, besides exhibiting their strong resentment over the proposed granting of citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees in the state.
At Diyun: Vehicular movement in the heavily-populated Chakma-Hajong refugee settlement area of Diyun in Changlang district took a hit with Namsai district participating in the 12-hour bandh.
Since Namsai is the gateway to several eastern districts of the state, Tuesday’s bandh also paralysed vehicular movement towards Lohit and Anjaw districts.
It has also been reported that indigenous people living in the largely refugee-inhabited area of Diyun supported the bandh in their own ways by keeping their respective establishments closed and staying confined to their homes.
Offices and schools also remained closed on the day.
However, shops, which are mostly owned by the Chakmas, remained open.
At New Delhi: The voice of the people was echoed through the Arunachal Students Union Delhi (ASUD), which was led by its President Likha Akash and General Secretary Dewan Natung.

At New Delhi

Holding a peaceful protest at the New Delhi Arunachal Bhavan in solidarity with the AAPSU, the ASUD said that it stands clear on its demands in cohesion with the AAPSU.
The ASUD demanded that the state government immediately call an emergency state cabinet meeting to discuss about the pros and cons of TRP-2014 issue and Chakma-Hajong issue.
It appealed to all the legislator and elected representatives, bureaucrats, technocrats and locals to act strongly in regards to the Chakma and Hajong issue and TRP-2014 to safeguard the interest of the indigenous rights of Arunachal.
At Naharlagun: The bandh was fully effective as the streets wore a deserted look since early morning. Schools remained closed and government offices recorded thin attendance.
During the day, AAPSU protestors gathered at the NH 415 raising slogans against granting of citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees, burnt tyres and damaged a few vehicles. An SUV (Scorpio) was partially damaged near Barapani Bridge, while a scooter was set on fire near TRIHMS.
At Nirjuli: Protestors marched to the streets shouting slogans and burnt tyres at several places including the NERIST gate.
At Roing: The all Arunachal bandh called by the AAPSU against the decision to grant citizenship rights to Chakma-Hajong refugees was observed in Lower Dibang Valley as well as Dibang Valley districts. Supported by the All Idu Mishmi Students’ Union, the bandh passed off peacefully without any untoward happenings.
As per reports from police sources of Lohit district, the bandh call in the district also passed off peacefully with no reports of violence. No vehicular movement was allowed in these districts. Schools, offices and shops remained closed.
At Daporijo: The 12-hour AAPSU bandh witnessed complete shutdown in Upper Subansiri district. At Daporijo and Dumporijo towns, all the shops downed shutters and no vehicle movement was seen on the road. The bandh call was supported by many community-based students union, including the Tagin Students Union.
Further, there was no report of any untoward incident.
Police personnel kept close eyes on the movement of the bandh callers in the twin town to ensure that no untoward incident took place. However, burning tyres were witnessed in numerous areas.
At Ruksin: The AAPSU sponsored 12-hour bandh in East Siang district was total and peaceful. Shops and commercial establishments, petrol pumps and financial banks at Pasighat and Ruksin remained closed for the day and attendance in government offices reportedly was thin. Passenger vehicles also remained off the roads.
Members of various local students union blocked the national highway at several locations in Ruksin gate, Sille and Pasighat. No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the district during bandh hours.
In Shillong: The Arunachal Students’ Union Shillong supported the 12-hour Arunachal bandh called by the AAPSU. It also strongly condemned the decision of the Supreme Court and demanded roll back of the decision.
Further, informing that the Galo Students’ Union (GSU) will continue with its support to the AAPSU till the final settlement of the refugee issue, the GSU has appealed to the state government to conduct eviction drive against Chakma and Hajong refugees at the earliest in the interest of indigenous people of the state.
Stating that refugees should be treated as refugees, the GSU further said, “It would be blunder on the part of the central government if the refugees are granted citizenship; hurting the sentiments of indigenous people of the state”.
Several other districts also reported that the bandh was in place from dawn to dusk.