ITANAGAR, Jan 3: Accusing the state government of undermining the sentiments of the indigenous people of Arunachal by proposing to grant PRCs to non-APST communities in three districts, the Core Committee of Indigenous People Against Granting of PRC to Non Indigenous on Thursday demanded that Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy CM Chowna Mein withdraw their statements.
Pema and Mein had reportedly announced to issue PRCs to non-APSTs living in Lekang (in Namsai district) and Vijoynagar (in Changlang) during their recent tours to those areas. Since then, the two have been facing flak from several quarters. Even though the government later clarified that issuing PRCs would not entitle the non-APSTs to land rights, opposition to their alleged decision continues.
Addressing a press conference at Arunachal Press Club here on Thursday, the committee’s chairman Pei Topu said granting of PRCs to non-APST communities would not only give them various rights but also violate the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act.
“The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873, which protects the interests of the indigenous people, should not be violated at any cost,” Topu said, adding that the indigenous people of the state would not tolerate any such move by the state government.
Demanding the arrest of the people who protested in Lekang and blocked the national highway on 22 May 2018 over the PRC issue, the committee demanded that the government follow the amendment which was made to protect and safeguard the rights of the indigenous people of the state.
Expressing resentment over the alleged interference of the Assam Moran Students’ Union in the issue, the committee suggested to the student body from Assam to refrain from interfering in Arunachal’s issue.
“We request the students’ body not to interfere in our state’s affairs as it has nothing to do with Assam or any other state,” said Topu.
The committee also condemned former minister Bida Taku for allegedly sympathizing with the non-APST communities of Lekang through a press conference in Itanagar, and asked him not to work against the state’s indigenous people.
“If he is really concerned, he should work for the indigenous people of the state,” Topu said, adding that “such attitude is anti-Arunachal.”
Also expressing resentment over the lack of public support to the movement, the committee appealed to the state’s indigenous people to raise their voice.
“Merely hitting the ‘like’ button on social media is not enough. Everyone should come out, sensing the gravity of the issue,” Topu said.
The committee urged the state government to meet its demand by 7 January, saying it would otherwise launch a series of rigorous democratic movements.
“If any untoward incident takes place across the state over PRC related issue, the state government should be held responsible,” the committee’s chairman added.