Markets, offices were shut in Namsai on February 21 in support of the bandh call against granting of PRC to non-APSTs

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Thursday clarified their stance on the permanent resident certificate issue in Arunachal Pradesh. At a press conference in Itanagar, AAPSU leaders stated that the primary precondition for granting PRCs was that it would be used only for educational and employment purposes by families recorded in the cadastral survey of 1968, and that PRCs would not grant the non-APSTs rights at par with the APSTs.

The students’ union was criticized by many in Arunachal Pradesh for their silence on the PRC issue which embroiled into a major controversy after chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy chief minister Chowna Mein issued separate statements favouring the same.

Addressing journalists at the Arunachal Press Club in Itanagar, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang said that as the non-APSTs have requested for PRCs for educational and employment purposes, “it will only be used for that, and having PRCs will not grant them APST quota in jobs.”

The students’ union also called for in-depth understanding on the issue. “Though everyone has the right to take up democratic means to get their voices heard, it is also important to know the depth of the issue before protesting and creating law and order problems,” Bagang said while referring to the 48-hour bandh call by 18 organizations in the state on February 21.

The bandh call drew response in Itanagar, Namsai and other parts of the state on February 21 as businesses were completely shut.

Explaining that the grant of PRC should not impact the issue of inner line permits (ILP) to the non-APST communities, Bagang said that the non-APST PRC holders will still have to posses ILP to enter Arunachal Pradesh.

“ILP is not limited only to the boundaries of Arunachal. The state government has the right to extend it within the state, as well. Which is why we suggested creating police check posts in the demarcated APST and non-APST lands, so that even genuine non-APST PRC holders would have to acquire ILPs to enter into APST land,” the student leader was quoted as saying by The Arunachal Times.

The AAPSU leader further added that the students’ union will not agree to PRCs being issued as ILPs.

“If the entire process affects the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873 in any way, we will not accept it,” he said.

However, the AAPSU said it was against issuance of PRCs to the Gorkhas and ex-servicemen of Vijoynagar in Changlang district as they were settled on lease and were paying rent for staying in Yobin land. The extended lease of the Gorkhas and ex-servicemen ends in 2020.

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