AAPSU team visits Kathan following violence

ITANAGAR, 19 Jun: A team of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), led by its general secretary Tobom Dai, visited Kathan village in Lohit district on Saturday and assessed “the traditional lands of the Mishmi tribal community which have been encroached upon by illegal Chakma settlers,” the union said in a release.

The visit was necessitated following large-scale encroachment and antisocial activities carried out by the illegal immigrants, it said.

The team, which also included members of the All Mishmi Students’ Union, the Singpho Youth Organization, the district student unions of Lohit, Namsai, Lower Dibang Valley, Dibang Valley, East Siang and Changlang, and representatives of Kathan village, also visited the illegal Chakma settlements on the traditional land of the Mishmi community.

During a meeting with the ‘village head’ of the illegal Chakma settlements, Dai stressed the need to maintain the rule of law and peace in the area. Further, the visiting team outright condemned the hostile behaviour and illegal activities of the Chakmas at Kathan village, “whereby shots were fired in the air to threaten the villagers.”

Lamenting the “negligence of both the state and the union governments to protect the indigenous people of the state due to influx of Chakmas into traditional lands,” Dai also questioned the lack of any real and concrete initiative “even in the present crisis unfolding in Kathan.”

The issue of granting of citizenship will be settled by the Supreme Court of India and the union government, but that doesn’t mean that the illegal immigrants can go on usurping community lands belonging to indigenous communities, the union said. It said it was made clear to the Chakmas that they would have to respect the customary laws, rights and traditions of the indigenous communities and also stay within their designated blocks.

“The union shall not stay silent to repeated atrocities. We strongly demand immediate and proactive measures from the state government to put a permanent end to the present crisis,” the AAPSU said.

Later in the day, the visiting team met with the gram chairperson and the GB of Kathan, who apprised the AAPSU members of the plethora of problems faced by the villagers.

A separate meeting was also held with CALSOM, the parental apex organization of the Mishmi community, at Kamlang regarding the vexed issue of illegal encroachment and antisocial activities carried out by the Chakmas, the union said.