The People’s Party of Arunachal’s call for fresh dialogue regarding the Statehood Act of 1987 under Article 371 (H) of the Indian Constitution and Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 should be considered.
The Statehood Act is defective, as it does not guarantee rights to the people over its resources. Instead, the Act empowers the governor.
The Act reads, “Governor of Arunachal Pradesh shall have special responsibility with respect to law and order in the State of Arunachal Pradesh and in the discharge of his functions in relation thereto, the Governor shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”.
The state has seen the misuse of the governor’s power not so long ago when JP Rajkhowa helped dislodge an elected government.
On the other hand, Mizoram, which was granted statehood on the same day as Arunachal, has full claim over its resources.
There has to be renewed debate on the Statehood Act. Instead of indulging in a blame game, it is important that all come together seeking rectification of the Act. A fresh dialogue should start.