Vijaynagar violence: Gorkhas seek governor’s intervention

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 15 Dec: Following the unprecedented violence that occurred in Vijaynagar in Changlang district last Friday, the Gorkha community of Vijaynagar circle on Sunday sought immediate intervention of the governor to bring back normalcy in their lives.

Highlighting the ex-Assam Rifles (AR) settlers’ contribution in establishing the last Indian territorial post in remote and inaccessible Vijaynagar, the Gorkha community stated: “Assam Rifles personnel did not settle in Vijaynagar by their own will or by their choice. Had it been out of own choice and convenience, we too would have chosen the accessible area bordering Assam.”

The Gorkha Welfare Society and the All Settlers Welfare Association, Vijaynagar, submitted a joint representation to the governor in this regard.

They said that the settlers had been sent to the then uninhabited land (Vijaynagar) on the line of duty during the Srijitga expedition to integrate the area and to mark Vijaynagar as an Indian territory.

Substantiating their stand with official correspondences that were exchanged prior to their settlement, the organizations claimed that it was the then NEFA administration which submitted the settlement proposal to the government of India during 1962-63.

“The scheme was then approved by the government of India in principle in 1964, and agreed to include it as a planned scheme under the Five Year Plan of the country,” the organizations said.

They claimed that 200 families of the Assam Rifles were settled in four different batches – the first batch (25 families) during 1967-68; the second batch (25 families) during 1968-69; the third batch (52 families) during 1969-70; and the fourth batch (100 families) during 1970-71.

“It is well on record that there was no international boundary between India and Myanmar. It was only demarcated in 1971-1972 after the settlement of our fathers/grandfathers in Vijaynagar valley, which clearly explains the underlying objective of settlement of Assam Rifles personnel,” they said.

The organizations further said that there was no question of a ‘lease land’ or a ’30-year lease’, and that otherwise the AR personnel would not have agreed to quit their jobs and chosen to settle in such a remote area.

“It was only in 1990, about 20 years later, that individual letters (land allotment orders) regarding their landholdings were issued, wherein 30 years of lease came into mention,” the organizations said.

They alleged that Yobin students have been issuing intimidation letters and recorded videos to the descendants of the ex-AR settlers in Vijaynagar on the basis of the 30-year lease agreement, “disregarding fellow citizens who ever since have equally suffered subhuman conditions of life due to the remoteness and nonexistence of roads and other basic facilities in Vijaynagar.”

The organizations sought due recognition from the state government for the supreme sacrifice their forefathers made in integrating the remotest part of the Indian territory.