ITANAGAR: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday allayed the fear of some states of the Northeast from the soil of Arunachal Pradesh saying that the Centre had no intention to scrap Article 371 even as China reacted strongly on the visit and asked the Government of India to refrain from complicating the border issue.
China considers Arunachal as part of southern Tibet region. Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media in Beijing: “The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to Shah’s visit”.
Addressing people at a public rally organised to celebrate the 34th Statehood Day of Arunachal, Shah said, “After Article 370 was abrogated in Jammu and Kashmir, misinformation was spread that Article 371 will also go from the Northeast. It will never happen and nobody can do it. The government has no intention to scrap it”.
Under Article 371, some states of the Northeast, such as Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh etc, enjoy certain provisions aimed at the preservation of their culture and customary laws.
Even as Shah was addressing the crowd at Itanagar, the students of Rajiv Gandhi University were staging a protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Mithun Gate, located less than a kilometre away.
“Before 2014, the Northeast was only geographically connected with the rest of India. The region’s importance was largely due to political reasons. However, it started getting emotionally integrated (with the mainland) from the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed charge,” Shah asserted.
He said protecting the culture and tradition of tribal communities of the Northeast was not just the Centre’s responsibility, but also a duty. The Centre is committed to the development of the region, he said.
“We want the entire Northeast to be free from the inter-state boundary and inter-tribal conflicts, insurgency, drug menace and other problems. When we come to seek votes in 2024, I tell you the whole of the region will be free from the problems,” Shah told the crowd.