[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Aug 17: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has launched its statewide ‘Operation Clean Drive’ against illegal immigrants and non-Arunachalees without inner line permits (ILP).
On Friday afternoon, several members of the AAPSU with identity tags were seen checking every passing vehicle on the capital’s highway near the Raj Bhavan tri-junction. There was no police presence as the students went about their checking. It appeared that the state government had temporarily handed over its job to the AAPSU.
However, later in the afternoon, the police were seen checking ILPs as the students stood by.
In Naharlagun, announcements were being made, asking those without papers to leave the state.
The AAPSU claimed that with the help the police, more than 1000 ILP violators were “driven out” from the capital complex on Friday. However, the police contradicted the union’s claim.
Capital SP M Harsha Vardhan said 134 people were caught without ILP in the capital on Friday. He said all of them were sent out of the state after following due legal process.
Vardhan also cautioned that any attempt to take the law into one’s hands would be dealt with strictly, even as the AAPSU said it would continue with its drive tomorrow.
A driver who was stopped by the students said he already had his ILP ready with him as he was warned about the drive by his employers.
“It feels strange to be stopped and checked like this by students,” he said, smiling.
“With NRC not yet finalized, Arunachal is going to be an unpleasant place to stay,” he added.
A government employee who was on a hospital run said he was stopped by students who asked for his ILP.
“I don’t have an ILP. They let me go after I showed them the identity issued by the government of Arunachal, but with a warning that I should get an ILP made. It is quite hurtful, but I will make an ILP,” he said.
The AAPSU announced its Operation Clean Drive following the publication of the NRC in Assam on 30 July, and asked all illegal immigrants to leave the state. The union also warned Indians who do not have ILPs to obtain it within 15 days or face deportation.
Soon after the publication of the NRC, the home department also intensified ILP checking in the state.
While DGP SBK Singh did not respond to queries from this daily regarding the policing by the AAPSU, which otherwise should have been his department’s job, his office had on 11 August informed that 2098 people without ILPs were detected across the state since the publication of the NRC.
In Lower Dibang Valley, 50 people without ILP were held during the drive conducted by the Lower Dibang Valley District Students’ Union.
The union informed that all the defaulters were handed over to the police for further legal action. The students appealed to the police department and the district administration to be vigilant and keep ILP defaulters out.
Meanwhile, the Wancho Students’ Union (WSU) and the Rujen Students’ Union informed that their members carried out ILP checking in Kanubari in Longding district, in collaboration with police personnel led by Kanubari police station OC RK Rai.
Eight violators were detected by the team, they said.
The unions said the administration launched an operation to detect persons without ILPs two weeks ago, during which 24 people were apprehended.
Such constant influx of illegal migrants into Wancho jurisdiction is a serious security threat to the people, they said.
WSU president Pongngoi Joham said the objective of the drive was to support Operation Clean Drive.
Urging contractors, builders, private industries, tea factories, the bazaar committee and traders of Kanubari not to employ people of suspect nationality, Joham said the WSU would conduct such drives in the area in the future too.
The union also asked those who employ non-locals not to interfere when papers are checked.