Cabinet approves JCC recommendations on issuing of APST certificates

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 10 Mar: The state cabinet on Thursday approved the recommendations of the joint consultative committee (JCC) on the issuance of Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) certificates.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced this through his official social media handles on Thursday evening.

The guidelines disqualify and debar non-indigenous people who adopted APST status and obtained APST certificates through their maternal side.

The AAPSU has been pressing the state government to come up with strict guidelines and a law “to check fraudulent means of obtaining ST certificates by offspring of tribal women married to non-indigenous persons.”

It is learnt that the guidelines do not have to go to the assembly and will be soon put up on the notification for government approval.

It is reported that the JCC made its recommendations following detailed consultations with the Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum and the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).

The cabinet approval comes amid the AAPSU’s demand for tabling the ‘offspring draft’ as a bill in the forthcoming 9th session of the 7th Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

Fearing that the government was not acting on the draft, the AAPSU had called an emergency meeting, involving all its district units, and adopted a one-point resolution, stating that, if the government failed to table or act on the draft, they would launch a democratic movement.

Earlier in the afternoon, the AAPSU reiterated its demand for tabling of the JCC recommendations in the assembly.

On the latest development, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang termed the government’s decision an achievement of the people of Arunachal.

“The painstaking efforts put in by the AAPSU under my leadership have finally borne fruits. At this very moment, I can proudly say that I have really achieved something. This achievement is not mine but for my people,” Bagang said.

He thanked Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s leadership for accepting the AAPSU’s longstanding demand for “adopting a mechanism to contain fraudulent obtaining of indigenous rights through APST mothers.” He also lauded the council of ministers, community-based organisations and all stakeholders who supported the AAPSU’s movement on the issue.

AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai termed the decision “historic in many senses” and said it would go a long way in “strengthening in protection of tribal rights.”

“We wholeheartedly welcome the cabinet decision on recommendations of the joint consultative committee on the issuance of APST certificates in the state of Arunachal Pradesh” Dai said.

“The decision is historic in many senses and will go a long way strengthening in protection of tribal rights,” he added.