GUWAHATI: Protestors went on the rampage in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar on Friday evening by resorting to arson and stone-pelting opposing the state government’s move to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities of two districts in the state.
When reports last came in, some Ministers and MLAs were stuck in the Assembly building even as the protestors, numbering a few thousand, were said to be marching there.
The protestors set afire and damaged about a dozen vehicles and government property. Former Congress Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s car was among the vehicles damaged.
The situation forced the police and paramilitary forces to resort to firing in which at least one person was injured.
The violence broke out on the second day of 48-hour Itanagar bandh called by a conglomerate of 18 student and civil society organisations against the government’s bid to grant PRC to communities such as “Tea Tribes/Adivasi, Deori, Gorkha, Moran, Mishing, and Sonowal Kachari.
Earlier, the state government had constituted a joint high power committee (JHPC), headed by Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia, to look into the matter and it submitted its report. The report was to be tabled in the ongoing Assembly session on Saturday but given the protests, the government was learnt to have decided against it.
The protestors alleged that the JHPC submitted the report without properly verifying facts. They demanded rectification before it is tabled in the Assembly.
On Thursday, Rebia had appealed to the protestors to “go to the districts concerned and interact with the people to know facts and history.” He clarified, “PRC does not confer one the status of an APST. It’s simply to avail jobs in Central government services”. He also said that non-APST communities would not be able to purchase land from locals.