GUWAHATI: What opposition parties in India have long forgotten, an anti-corruption group embarked on a “padayatra” (foot march) from Arunachal Pradesh to New Delhi.
Tarh Tahar and his friends from “Arunachal Against Corruption” began the 2,140 km march on August 21 from Itanagar to the Prime Minister’s Office. Their major complaint is that Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu is involved in corruption cases across departments.
The motley band of 16 marchers is being warmly welcomed by people in Assam’s north bank of the Brahmaputra. They reached Biswanath Chariali on Tuesday.
“People in Assam are showing a lot of love to us. As we are undertaking the arduous journey braving scorching heat, people will call us for food, water, cold drinks and tea on the way. We sleep wherever we get a space,” Tahar, who is the president of the anti-graft body, told this newspaper.
Seventeen of them, including supporters of the group, had set out on the march. One fell sick on the way and withdrew.
The march followed the group’s week-long “peaceful dharna” from July 23-29 in Itanagar. Tahar claimed the scams across departments entailed Rs 4,000-5,000 crore and they impeded the state’s development.
“Corruption in Arunachal has come to a head. We thought the government would discuss the issue with us but it ignored us. So, on July 25, we submitted a memorandum to Governor Brig (Retd) BD Mishra. Thereafter, we kept waiting but he did nothing. This compelled us to decide on taking up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Tahar said.
“We will tell the PM that our CM is indulging in corruption and seek his (PM’s) help so that the issue is dealt with appropriately. Modiji has given huge funds to Arunachal but the various projects are not being implemented,” the activist said, adding, “We will also meet Home Minister Amit Shah.”
The BJP rubbished the charges of the group. The party said it raked up some issues of the previous Congress government.
“Some of these cases were probed by an SIT. Some reached the court and are sub-judice,” BJP Arunachal spokesman Techi Necha told this newspaper.
He said some disgruntled political and non-political elements were instigating these youth to disturb peace and development as part of a conspiracy against the Khandu government.
“These are mere allegations. The disgruntled elements are misguiding the youth to create unrest in the society,” Necha added.