AITF, ANSU seek statement from authorities over Kimin episode

ITANAGAR, 20 Jun: The Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF) has said it is waiting for a “corrective statement” from the authorities for erroneously depicting Kimin in Papum Pare district as a part of Assam during the inaugural function of the incomplete 20 km Kimin-Potin road broadening work. The work was inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 18 June.

Expressing support to the protest staged by the All Kimin Youth Welfare Association on 19 June, the AITF said “the genuine demand for shifting of BRO office before causing further damages has a strong ground.”

The forum in a press release on Sunday sought a “clear-cut statement from the authorities of the central and state leadership and thorough inquiry into the unprecedented security and protocol arrangement from other states during the programme and breach of protocol and precedence, fix responsibility and stringent action thereof.”

It also condemned the covering up of Arunachal’s name on milestones and boards during the inaugural function.

“We demand the state government to institute a thorough inquiry into the vital lapses, dig out the person responsible for the fiasco, fix responsibility and initiate stringent action as it involves territorial integrity of Arunachal Pradesh, centre-state and interstate relations, apart from protocol and security angles,” it said.

“Surprisingly, a lady live reporter of a national news channel, who came all along from New Delhi, had the foolish impression that the said road project was of national importance near the Indo-Tibetan border, whereas the 20 km road broadening work of the existing road is being undertaken by the BRO in Kimin, which is just 40 minutes’ drive from the state capital Itanagar,” it said.

The AITF said “there are no roads in the borders of Arunachal Pradesh, especially in the Subansiri belt. From the Kimin inaugural site, BRO complex to reach the Indo-Tibet border, we have to cross six very large districts in terms of geographical area – Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Kra Daadi, Kurung Kumey, Kamle and Upper Subansiri. With the locational factor, there is no scope of international ramifications and otherwise also, the great and the largest democracy on earth need not be cowed down on any apprehension,” it said.

The AITF also raised the issue of breach of protocol during the inauguration, saying that “in an utter breach of privilege and in violation of protocol, the local member of the vidhan sabha, Tana Heli Tara (local MLA) was seen standing at the back without being offered even a chair and the government servants in uniform were proudly sitting with the dignitaries at the front row – a never seen protocol arrangement. This aspect of breach of privilege and protocol of our democratic representative of the people also needs to be taken up at an appropriate level, fix responsibility and ensure appropriate deterrent action,” it said.

The forum asked Chief Minister Pema Khandu, union MoS Kiren Rijiju, and the state government’s border affairs department to “immediately issue clarificatory statements without further delay, so that the peace-loving neighbouring people of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are not misled by unscrupulous design in future.”

The All Nyishi Students’ Union (ANSU) has also vehemently condemned the BRO for depicting Kimin as a part of Assam, and demanded that the state government initiate action against the erring BRO officials by conducting a thorough investigation into the matter and bringing the guilty to book under appropriate section of the law.

It questioned the BRO as to why it endorsed the security arrangement to the Assam Police when the inauguration of the road project took place at Kimin in Arunachal.

The union also questioned why the local administration (of Arunachal) was not informed about the programme.

“Why did the BRO mention Kimin ITBP as Bilgarh (Assam) in the letter to the Papum Pare deputy commissioner, and why did it cover up with white paper all old inauguration stones and signboards during the defence minister’s visit?” it questioned, and sought a clarification from the BRO on the whole episode.

The union also termed it inappropriate on the part of the defence minister to tweet that “the programme was held in Assam.”

“We didn’t expect such huge mistake from him and he needs to give clarification to the people of Arunachal Pradesh,” the union added.