Human rights and risk analysis organization, the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), in a press statement on February 25, urged the Arunachal Pradesh government to end the treatment of people from the erstwhile Lakhimpur Frontier Tract as second class citizens under the garb of Permanent Residence Certificates (PRC).

Since last week, Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed violent protest over the recommendation of the Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) to grant PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APST) of Namsai and Changlang districts which included Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Moran, Mising and ex-serviceman belonging to Gorkha communities.

Three persons have died and many others were injured while private residence of deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and properties of, JHPC chairman Nabam Rebia in Itanagar had been burned down. The state government had since decided not to act on the recommendations of the Joint High Power Committee.

Countering the identification of the Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Moran and Mising communities as ‘outsiders’, director of RRAG, Suhas Chakma, stated, “Lakhimpur Frontier Tract which was governed by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 had been homeland of the Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Moran and Mising communities. The Changlang and Namsai districts were curved out of respectively Tirap and Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Tirap and Lohit districts were originally part of the Lakhimpur district of Assam and added to the North East Frontier Tract after the Lakhimpur district was divided into two tracts in 1914. In 1943, the Tirap Frontier Tract was formed comprising of certain areas from Sadiya Frontier Tract and Lakhimpur Frontier Tract while the Mishmi Hills district, a part of the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract, was renamed as Lohit district in 1954. The North-East Frontier Tract came to be known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954 and it was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh only in 1972 and it became a state in 1987. The identification of the people from the erstwhile Lakhimpur district as outsiders based on current boundaries of the districts or the state is wrong.”

Clarifying the legal position on the grant of permanent residents status in the country, Chakma stated, “The only law that defines a resident is the Representation of Peoples Act of 1950 under Section 20 and the same must be upheld for all.”

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