ITANAGAR, Sep 16: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has sought identification and lists of persons born to Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) mothers and non-APST fathers acquiring APST certificates and enjoying full benefits in the state, within two months’ time.
The union sought the lists from community-based organisations and district student unions during a consultative meeting held here on 15 September.
Addressing reporters at the press club on Sunday, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said the union met with 49 community-based organisations of the state, as well as representatives of the BJP and the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal, took their feedback on how to go about the issue, and decided to first identify and list such persons.
After acquiring the lists, the union would pursue the matter with the state government to bring up appropriate laws in the state assembly, Dai informed.
Regarding support from all stakeholders, Dai said, “It is a vast and sensitive issue on which we can’t decide alone; which is why we invited community-based organisations. The public largely agrees that it is a dangerous issue for our society, and it is more dangerous than the refugee issue. It can kill the society from within.”
On whether it was unfair to APST women as APST men are allowed to freely marry non-APST women, Dai clarified, “The issue is not against women. It is about lineage. There are no boundaries on who marries whom, but there should be set rules, so that our indigenous rights are not infringed upon.”
Exuding confidence that the issue has the support of the masses, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang informed that adoptees would also come under the purview of this matter.
“Those who are adopted cannot enjoy APST status as the status comes by virtue of birth,” he said, adding that legal aspects would be looked into, as well, since many do not adopt legally in the state.
He said it was a sensitive issue, and that listing was only the beginning and more consultations would be held with stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive and agreeable plan.
Meanwhile, the AAPSU informed that the second phase of its ‘Operation Clean Drive’ would also be held after meeting with the government.
It said it has resolved to constitute an expert committee to study the Arunachal Pradesh State Act, 1986, for its amendment, and to codify the customary laws.
The union also said it has resolved to ban rampant slaughter of mithuns, and to ban hunting and selling of game meat in order to preserve the state’s fauna.