NESA rejects autonomy call, demands CM’s resignation

ITANAGAR, Aug 8: The Nyishi Ethnic Students of Arunachal (NESA) has joined various organizations in rejecting the state government’s move to create a Mon autonomous region [MAR], stating that the move would open the floodgates for various other tribes to place similar demands.

“Such demands will encourage other regions and tribes to demand for the same, which will divide our state into many parts,” the NESA said in a press statement.

The organization also demanded scrapping of the department of karmik & adhyatmik affairs and the department of TLC.

“If at all the government establishes the MAR, it also must create autonomy for the people of the Tani clan,” NESA president Biri Chattum demanded.

He claimed that creation of the two departments had “caused huge disparity within fellow Arunachalees.”

“We want the government to treat every Arunachalee equally,” Chattum said.

The NESA stated that many other tribes of the state were deeply hurt when the chief minister called a meeting with the Mon Autonomous Region Demand Committee (MARDC) for creation of MAR.

It demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pema Khandu for his alleged “misgovernance,” and claimed that the state had witnessed many problems since the inception of the Pema Khandu-led government.

“Earlier, in the PRC issue too, the death of three youths in the anti-PRC protest was caused due to mismanagement and failure to control the protest. The Trans-Arunachal Highway scam also happened under his leadership, but unfortunately, no justice has been delivered,” it alleged.

Expressing solidarity with the All Nyishi Youth Association’s demand and the proposed 36-hour Itanagar capital region bandh from 27 August, the NESA threatened to launch a democratic movement of its own unless its demands are met, if the proposed bandh is called off for some reason.

Union seeks inclusion of state under 6th schedule

Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Tourism Students’ Union (AATSU) has requested the state government to seek inclusion of the state under the 6th schedule, and to scrap proposals to create autonomous district councils.

In a representation to the chief minister, the union on Saturday lamented that despite being a tribal state, Arunachal does not enjoy the provisions given to the tribal areas of states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

The AATSU’s appeal comes against the backdrop of the MARDC’S demand for a Mon autonomous region amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Without properly discussing with all the communities of the state, the demand made by the MARDC is not in the interest of the state. Proposal for creating separate autonomous district councils without justification may lead to misunderstanding,” the union said, and advocated conducting a “mass discussion to sort out the misconception of the state’s people.”

It also advocated that Arunachal be brought under the provisions of Article 371(A) and Article 371(G), as is the case with Nagaland and Mizoram.

“These provisions would protect and safeguard the customary rights of the tribal people with regard to ownership and transfer of land and forest products of the state,” the union said.

It further called for equitable distribution of funds, saying that “equal distribution of funds will boost developmental activities in the state.”