Amendment of ‘defective’ Statehood Act should be prime agenda: PPA

ITANAGAR, May 8: The People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), which has been demanding for a constitutional amendment of the Arunachal Statehood Act of 1986, has appealed to the people of the state, especially the parliamentarians, to consider the task of correcting and amending the ‘defective’ Act as their prime agenda.
The party leaders, during an interactive meeting on Monday, had a threadbare discussion on the genesis of the Act, and also the role parliamentarians can play in getting the Act amended, which will give Arunachal a status at par with Nagaland and Mizoram.
Participating in the discussion, party president Kahfa Bengia recalled how former parliamentarians from the state, PK Thungon and Wangpa Lowang had tried their best to amend the defects in the Arunachal Statehood Bill, when the bill was being tabled in the parliament in 1986.
Kahfa said both the parliamentarians had raised their deep concerns on few major loopholes in the Statehood Bill and had pleaded for necessary amendments.
“The governor has been equipped with more powers to deal with law and order in whatever manner he thinks fit. The people have been denied of the constitutional right of defence, in respect of land, culture and social and religious practices…Therefore, it is much more appropriate that the people should be protected more than to equip the governor with more powers. I would very strongly urge that this amendment providing protection to the people and divesting the governor of his powers may be accepted,” PK Thungon was quoted as pleading in the parliament.
“In spite of their tireless efforts, the necessary amendments could never take place,” he said.
“Today, we have the same ruling party both at the centre and the state. And, we too have Kiren Rijiju occupying the post of union minister of state home. It is an opportunity for him to complete the task what his predecessors could not accomplish,” he said.
He called upon the people of the state to stand united in its demand for the constitutional amendment of the Act in the parliament.
Emphasizing the need to bring an end to the dependency syndrome, secretary general of the party, Kaling Jerang said a necessary constitutional amendment of the Act can “give us back our lost pride and self respect”.
“Arunachal, in spite being one of the most resourceful states in the country, has been reduced to the status of dependency. The people of the state are so dependent on the centre that we have become visionless. This dependency syndrome has to be done away with by amending the ‘defective’ Statehood Act, which will give us back our ownership rights in every sense-culture, customary and traditional tribal rights over our land, forests, rivers and untapped mineral resources,” he added.