GWS rejects selective creation of autonomous council

ITANAGAR, Aug 5: The Galo Welfare Society (GWS) has said that it rejects any attempt to create selective autonomous regions in the state.

The GWS said the proposal for creation of Mon Autonomous Council and Patkai Autonomous Council have been racked up from time to time at several fronts and supported by the successive governments, which is not in the interest of the state.

“Selective approach of leveraging some regions without proper justification would lead to misunderstanding among the various communities of the state,” GWS president Tanga Kena said in a press statement.

Stating that there are no clear cut and defined boundaries for any particular tribe in the state, Kena said: “Once proposals for creation of autonomous councils start, there will be scramble among different tribes to claim and counter claim on territorial expanses. This may lead to heightened communal frenzy and ultimately lead to showdown among the different competing tribes, and thus, the peaceful ecosystem of the entire state would vitiate and become irreversible.”

“Also, there are all possibilities of bullying of the smaller groups by the larger groups in the imagined autonomous councils. As such, the deprivations will be gradually inflicted upon the minority groups within any autonomous council,” he said.

Kena observed that those without any autonomous region will be deprived of the fruits of development which, otherwise, will be selectively allocated to the few having autonomous region status.

“Such a trend would defeat the very idea of equitable growth and development paradigm. The GWS believes in the idea of ‘Team Arunachal’ and for having a balanced regional development of the state through a policy of inclusiveness and not exclusiveness,” he said.

Kena also said that there are many regions in the state which need attention and special focus for initiating dedicated development paradigm.

He said the special department of karmik and adhyatmik affairs (DoKAA) and the department of Tirap, Changlang and Longding affairs (DoTCL) have been created for Mon region and TCL region. However, there is no policy imperative for other regions besides Mon and TCL region, he said, adding that such preferential policy for some particular regions has not been objected so far by any other group in the state despite having underdevelopment in their respective regions.

“If comparisons are to be drawn then the Galos living in the central districts of Arunachal are one of the most deprived communities in the state. Being centrally located the Galo districts are devoid of funding under BADP or MSDP under the ministry of minority affairs. On the other hand, Tawang and West Kameng (Mon region) and the TCL region enjoy sufficient funding under BADP, MSDP besides regular special budgetary allocations every year,” Kena said.

He said that if a policy of accentuating the preferential status to Mon and Patkai (TCL) region is pursued further by the state government thereby granting selective autonomous councils, then “the state and the central governments are to justify the lack of parity and having a step-motherly approach to develop other regions of the Arunachal Pradesh.”

The GWS said if at all autonomous councils are to be created, “it should be considered with holistic approach” thereby conducting proper parleys with all the tribes of the state.

The society opined that the state government should first debate and discuss in the assembly for abrogation of Article 371 (H) as this law does not safeguard the traditional rights and customary practices of tribes residing in Arunachal.

“The GWS strongly feels the unfavourable laws which are not serving the interest of the people should be scrapped and better laws should be negotiated with the central government for the larger interests of the people,” the statement said.

“The proposal for bringing the state under 6th schedule should be taken up first and the GWS would support such an inclusive policy of the government. Otherwise, the GWS shall resort to democratic movements to resist any selective and preferential creation of autonomous regions in the state,” the statement said.