Bill on property damage welcomed

In the just concluded budget session of the state assembly, the government of Arunachal managed to pass the Arunachal Pradesh Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Bill, 2020. The bill was unanimously passed in the assembly and the people in general have also welcomed the bill. Once signed by the governor, it will become a law. As per the provision of this bill, those who damage public or private properties during bandhs and agitations will be liable to compensate for the loss. The government justified this law citing incidents of damages to public and private properties during bandhs.
Last year, the state capital burned following the violent protests during the anti-PRC agitation. Many lost properties worth crores of rupees and could not recover the loss. In this context, the passing of the Arunachal Pradesh Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Bill, 2020, is a welcome move. However, the possibilities of misuse of this bill cannot be ruled out. During the recent anti-CAA protest in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government used a similar provision to make recovery from the protestors. However, several allegation of harassment of innocent poured in from various parts of UP. In certain areas, the UP police themselves damaged properties and blamed it on the protestors. Therefore the government of Arunachal should tread carefully and make sure that strict provision is made, so that no one misuses it to harass the innocent. In a highly sensitive tribal state like ours, misuse of the law can have serious repercussions.