FIR lodged against BJP state gen secy (org), others over unlawful activities in disputed area

 [Bengia Ajum]

YINGKIONG, 11 Aug: An FIR has been lodged against the BJP’s Arunachal Pradesh state general secretary (organisation) Ananta Narayan Mishra and three others for allegedly “indulging in unlawful activities at the disputed Eko Dumbing/Riwotala area” in Upper Siang district.

The FIR, lodged by Simong Community Youth Association (SCYA) president Asin Libang, also mentioned the names of Michung Khamba, Tendy Lamo and Laida Wangchuk, besides that of Mishra, over “violating the peace and tranquillity by hurting religious sentiments of the local Adi community.”

The SCYA has alleged that the persons mentioned in the FIR violated the agreement reached between the Adi and the Memba-Khamba communities, at the initiative of the state government, to maintain peace by refraining from carrying out any kind of activity in the disputed Eko Dumbing/Riwotala area.

“While both the communities were maintaining peace, suddenly, on 30 July, 2022, it was learned that the Chimey Yangsang Pemako Society, under the leadership of Michung Khamba, Laida Wangchuk, and Pemako Youth Association president Tendy Lhamo, accompanied by Mishra and others, secretly visited the site and once again constructed some structure at the disputed site,” the SCYA said.

“They have aggravated the dispute by constructing such a structure at the sacred site,” the SCYA alleged.

It also claimed that the team did not inform the district administration and the local BJP unit regarding the visit. “A team of the forest department, which was visiting the area for camera trapping, first spotted them,” it said.

When contacted, Mishra said that he would explain the situation later.

Eko Dumbing, also known as Riwotala, is a three-day trek away from here. The area is considered to be a sacred place for both the Memba-Khamba Buddhist communities and the Adi community of Upper Siang. There is a running dispute between the tribes, and the administration has banned any kind of activities in the area due to constant religious disputes.

In October last year, Buddhist religious structures constructed at the site were burnt down by miscreants. The local Buddhist communities lodged an FIR and the police arrested five people.

The state government took the initiative to resolve the dispute by forming a peace committee headed by MP Tapir Gao and MLAs Phurpha Tsering and Zingnu Namchoom as members.

Because of the initiative of the peace committee, a four-point resolution was adopted in a meeting held in Itanagar on 7 January this year. The Adi community agreed not to raise any objection against the Memba-Khamba communities visiting the Eko Dumbing/ Riwotala area for pilgrimage. It also agreed to allow the construction of a gonpa and other religious structures in a suitable location in the Eko Dumbing/Riwotala area, which is to be identified by the district administration, in consultation with the Adi community.

On their part, the Memba-Khamba communities said that they have “no issue with the claim to the land in the Eko Dumbing/Riwotala area by the Adi community.”

Further, members of both communities of Upper Siang district agreed to maintain communal harmony and peaceful coexistence.

The local Adi community considers Eko Dumbing a sacred place. “All the indigenous customary rituals and religious offerings are attached to it. As per our belief, we do not engage in any kind of construction at the site. We are abiding by the decision taken during the meeting held at the CM office. But this latest visit and construction activities have breached the trust,” said SCYA president Libang.