ITANAGAR, Aug 6: Claiming inaction on the part of the state government with regard to their demands, the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured in February’s anti-PRC agitation are seeking to bring the government’s attention to their demands again.
Under the aegis of the ‘PRC Issue Victims Committee’, members of the bereaved families held a press conference at the Arunachal Press Club here on Tuesday, and made a series of demands, including erection of “martyr statues” of the three persons who died during the agitation – Risso Tari, Biki Ruja and Tsering Wangdi.
“People should remember their sacrifices for the cause of the state; so we demand for erection and construction three martyrs statues,” the committee’s chairman, Risso Kagung, said.
He said the families are adamant on their demands and would resort to “democratic movement” if their demands are not met.
The committee is also demanding identifying a “permanent site for martyr ground and declaration of state martyr day,” Kagung said.
Its other demands include immediate arrest of the persons responsible for the death of the three youths, and registering a criminal case against the officers responsible for the death of the youths.
Also stating that “no communication on the high-power committee report has been made so far,” the committee demanded that the report be made public.
The five-member high-power committee was headed by the then principal home secretary AC Verma.
The committee also demanded adequate compensation for those who were injured during the riots.
“The government should take responsibility of the medical expenses involved in the recovering process of the four grievously injured persons till they get normalized,” said Kagung.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Bamang Felix reacted to the issues raised by the bereaved families.
Speaking to journalists in his civil secretariat chamber here, Felix said, “The government is doing everything possible to help the families. However, till now they have not approached the new government with the issue.”
The home minister said the government has taken the issue very seriously.
“The government took the incident very seriously and is very concerned about the lives of the people who died and who were injured. Accordingly, on 25 February, the state cabinet decided to compensate by offering Rs 20 lakhs each and Group C government jobs to the next of kin of the deceased persons, and upto Rs 10 lakhs for the seriously injured,” Felix said.
The home minister said the government has disbursed Rs 60 lakhs so far. “However, only the father of late Biki Ruja has accepted the ex gratia, and the remaining amount is still not being accepted by the other families,” he said.
For the injured persons, Felix informed that the government has already released ex gratia in two phases so far.
“In the first phase we released Rs 39 lakhs for 11 persons, and all have received the amounts, except two persons. In the second phase we disbursed Rs 10.2 lakhs for 10 persons, and all received the amount, except one person whose account number we have been constantly asking for,” Felix said.
“Since the government is positive and ready to resolve (the issue), there is no need to make noises. If there is a delay or gap in the procedure, we are here to help them,” he said.
The home minister appealed to the bereaved families to “come to my table with the issue instead of threatening to launch democratic movement.
“In the name of democratic movement, if anyone tries to sabotage peace and tranquility, the government will not tolerate it,” he said.
On being asked about the report of the high-power committee, Felix said the home department on 18 July wrote to the law commissioner, the administrative reforms secretary, the GA secretary, the capital complex DC and the DGP, pertaining to the memorandum submitted by the bereaved families, and sought their views and opinions.
“However, their views and comments are still awaited,” Felix said, adding that “the government has to work under a certain system and set of rules.”