[ Taba Ajum ]
The death of 30-year-old Dinesh Sahani, who was killed in an incident of road rage that occurred in Naharlagun on Tuesday evening, almost caused a communal riot in the state capital. Thankfully, better sense prevailed and a major crisis has been averted.
First of all, let us all mourn the untimely, and unjustified, death of Dinesh Sahani. He has left behind a young widow, and the bereaved family must be going through a tough time in this hour of grief.
It is good news that the police have arrested the persons involved in the crime, and, hopefully, the law will take its own course of action. However, the police also need to investigate whether the driver of the Tata Mobile vehicle, whose erratic driving led to the incident culminating in the death of Sahani, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. This should be a significant part of the investigation.
Secondly, our non-APST brothers and sisters have every right to protest in any part of the state if they feel that justice has been denied to them. India is a democratic country, and Arunachal is a part of this great democracy. However, forcibly closing down shops and threatening to impose an economic blockade against fellow countrymen is against law of the land – particularly so in the face of the fact that in this case the capital police managed to arrest the accused within a few hours of the incident.
Thirdly, it was nothing less than sickening to see some local tribal people defending the act of hooliganism which was witnessed on the street of Naharlagun on Wednesday. Yes, we are grateful to the non-APSTs for coming to Arunachal to educate us and improve our quality of life. But they are not doing anything for free and are, in fact, making a living off this land. It is a give-and-take relationship. Such Arunachalees remind us of some Indians who had similar views about the British Empire and who used to eulogize the empire’s contributions.
When it comes to dealing with antisocial elements, it does not matter whether the perpetrator is a tribal, a non-tribal, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a follower of Donyi Polo, a Buddhist, or an atheist. No one is above the law and the Indian constitution. Let us seek justice for late brother Dinesh Sahani. The capital police have done a commendable job by arresting the accused, and now it is upto them to prepare a strong case, so that justice is truly delivered. Also, it is the duty of the state government to properly compensate the victim’s family.
All said and done, however, it is unacceptable to give the incident a communal angle. It is a case of people breaking the law. To begin with, it was rash driving on the part of the driver of the Tata Mobile which triggered the whole incident. Secondly, the accused broke the law by killing Sahani in a road rage; and finally, the non-APST protestors broke the law by forcibly shuttering shops, delivering hate speeches, and threatening their fellow countrymen with an economic blockade.
India is a diverse country, and every state has its own uniqueness. It goes without saying that the locals’ sentiments have to be respected everywhere.
The immense restraint exhibited by the indigenous tribal community of the capital, despite the extreme provocation, is a good sign. It shows that the people are maturing and trusting the law enforcing agencies. Considering the fact that Itanagar witnessed violent protests only a few months ago, during the anti-PRC agitation, many were expecting worse after videos of the protestors indulging in hooliganism and issuing threats went viral on social media.
The age-old harmonious relation between the APST and the non-APST people should not be affected because of this incident. It is better to coexist peacefully and respect each other’s sentiments.
[ Taba Ajum ]