GUWAHATI: An uneasy calm prevailed in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar on Monday after a series of violent incidents in the past three days that claimed the lives of three people and caused destruction of government as well as private property.
There were no reports of any untoward incidents on Monday. Itanagar and its adjoining Naharlagun town remained closed for the fifth straight day. The curfew, clamped in Itanagar and Naharlagun on Saturday, continued while internet services remained suspended.
According to official sources, the Army staged a flag march to instill a sense of security in the minds of people. Personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Central Reserve Police Force along with the local police patrolled the streets of the capital town.
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Chief Minister Pema Khandu held a meeting with the leaders of over a dozen community-based organisations and apprised them, among others, of the state government’s decision to not pursue the issue of granting permanent residence certificate (PRC) to six non-tribal communities such as Adivasi, Deori, Gorkha, Moran, Mishing and Sonowal-Kachari in the future which had triggered the unrest.
The state’s BJP government had called an all-party meeting on Monday but opposition Congress and National People’s Party did not attend it. A meeting of the state cabinet, held in the evening, discussed the prevailing law and order situation.
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The Congress petitioned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding the immediate sacking of his deputy Kiren Rijiju, Khandu and Arunachal’s Deputy CM Chowna Mein for their alleged failure in preventing the violent incidents.
“The Congress demands the constitution of a commission of enquiry on the firing and killing of the innocent and unarmed protestors. The enquiry should be headed preferably by a sitting judge of a high court or a retired chief justice of a high court. The party also demands the immediate sacking of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju,” the party wrote in the petition to Singh.
The Congress alleged Rijiju, who represents the Arunachal West parliamentary constituency, had been indifferent to the sensitivities of people, deaths and unrest and was indulging in politicizing the issue, discarding blatantly his constitutional obligations to safeguard the interests and safety of his people.
“The state government has completely failed and remained a mute spectator to the unfolding events. Further complacency and lack of action would not only jeopardize the socio-cultural fabric of the state but also have serious strategic ramifications,” the Congress said.
Earlier, the party had demanded the imposition of President’s rule in the state. However, Rijiju said, “There is no question of imposition of President's rule”. He also denied there was any move to replace Khandu.
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Earlier in the day, Khandu said granting PRC to the six non-tribal communities is a dead issue.
“The government took a decision on February 22 that it will not pursue the issue of PRC in the future keeping in mind the sentiments of people. However, I think the government’s latest stand on the issue is not reaching the masses. I appeal to the protestors to end the protests and cooperate with the government for the maintenance of peace. I have ordered a Commissioner-level inquiry so that people can know the truth behind the incidents. I believe there are some forces behind the incidents,” he said.
During the bout of violence from Friday to Sunday, the protestors had set ablaze the private residence of the Deputy CM, a shopping mall of a minister and scores of vehicles, vandalised the office of Itanagar Capital Complex District Magistrate and Itanagar Police Station and looted a shopping mall, owned by a BJP leader, and a number of shops.