AAPSU strongly opposes proposed draft of marriage and inheritance bill

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 20 Aug: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Friday strongly opposed the proposed draft of Arunachal Pradesh marriage and inheritance of property bill being prepared by the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW), stating that the proposed draft attacked “the very tenets of the AAPSU.”

The union said that the contentious draft being submitted by the women’s commission “needs wider consultation and discussion,” and demanded that the mentioned clauses be immediately struck down.

In a press conference, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang stated that such a bill, “which takes away the tribal right,” would never be allowed to be passed in the assembly or in the cabinet, and that the people need not panic over the proposed bill.

Bagang said that the AAPSU’s stand is crystal clear that a tribal woman who marries a non-APST should be stripped off her scheduled tribe benefits. “Under no circumstances should a tribal woman married to a non-APST be given benefits and property rights,” he said.

The union further clarified that it has no issue with property rights being given to a tribal woman or girl child, but that it opposes the rights given to tribal women married to non-APSTs.

The AAPSU president further demanded that the social justice, empowerment and tribal affairs (SJETA) department come with up an “offspring issue draft by Monday and place it on public domain.”

The AAPSU accused the SJETA department of dilly-dallying over the preparation of the draft on the offspring issue.

AAPSU GS Tobom Dai in his address said, “It shows a grim picture painted by outsiders that girl children are being deprived in Arunachal when it comes to property rights, whereas the tribal society in Arunachal has fared better than the rest of India when it comes to women’s rights.”

On the proposed Arunachal Pradesh marriage and inheritance of property bill, Dai said that the AAPSU outright rejects the bill and the contentious clauses. He claimed that such a bill would indirectly degrade and weaken the AAPSU’s indigenous rights movement.

AAPSU women’s wing president Bengia Mepung said it is too early to come up with a unified code or an act on polygamy in Arunachal, stating that, in some tribes, polygamy is being practiced under compulsion or “family understanding.” She added that polygamy would be eradicated through “evolutional process of education in the society.”