ITANAGAR, Feb 15: The Yobin Welfare Society (YWS) has strongly objected to the joint high power committee’s (JHPC) recommendation to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to the non-APST settlers in Vijoynagar circle of Changlang district, and threatened to resort to democratic action if the state government decides to implement the recommendation.
Speaking to reporters at Arunachal Press Club here on Friday afternoon, YWS president Lucheso Yobin said they had on 11 February submitted a representation to the JHPC, in which they had raised objections and urged the committee to look into their demands.
“The decision of the JHPC to grant PRCs to the settlers in Vijoynagar violates the terms and conditions of the settlement given to the ex-Assam Rifles (AR) servicemen (comprising Nepalis, Mizos, Kukis, Gharwaris, Burmans, etc) of Vijoynagar. The settlement was only for a period of 30 years and that, too, on the basis of revenue payment,” the YWS president said.
Citing documents relating to the settlement of ex-AR servicemen and non-local labourers in Vijoynagar, Yobin said, “During the fourth Five Year Plan (FYP), the Centre initiated settlement of ex-army and AR servicemen and non-APST labourers in the vacant lands of Arunachal Pradesh by allocating Rs 1.80 crore.
The Vijoynagar AR pensioners were settled on that package. Further, the Yobin tribe inhabits the international border and is surrounded by Myanmar on three sides. And in such a remote tribal area, permanent settlement of non-APSTs violates the inner line regulations as well as the constitutional protective provisions provided for the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh. Now, on the verge of completion of the lease period of settlement given to the settlers in Vijoynagar, instead of finding new solutions, we wonder how the non-APSTs of Vijoynagar would be granted PRCs.”
The YWS also accused the JHPC of reaching a decision without considering the sentiments of the tribal population of the state with regard to the 4th FYP settlement scheme.
The YWS further urged the JHPC to deal with the ex-AR settlers in Vijoynagar on the basis of the release period agreement given by the state government, and on the terms and conditions of the fourth FYP.
Demanding that the JHPC abides by the terms and conditions of settlement/lease agreement, the YWS appealed to the state government to rehabilitate the ex-AR settlers in Vijoynagar elsewhere.
“If the GoAP fails to address our demands, we will be compelled to take up democratic means to resolve the issue, since the decision would affect every part of the state and not just Vijoynagar. We also appeal to the various community-based organizations and student bodies to extend us their support. We will also take legal recourse if the GoAP fails to address our genuine issue,” the YWS stated.
It also expressed objections to participation of non-APST settlers of Vijoynagar in the panchayati raj system. It termed it a violation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, and the Chin Hill Regulations, 1896, which states that “only indigenous tribal people are allowed to participate in the democratic process.”