Insecurity of tribals is over, says Arunachal CM

Pema Khandu Arunachal
Arunachal CM Pema Khandu unveiling statue of Birsa Munda

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu said that the time of tribals being insecure is over and added that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi they (tribals) have ample opportunity to rub shoulders with their counterparts of general categories.

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Pema Khandu said this while attending the Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, commemorating the 147th birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda at Kumari Adivasi village under Lekang circle in Namsai district.

He said that the main reason behind celebrating Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas on the birth anniversary of Veer Birsa Munda, a tribal freedom fighter, is to recognize the contribution and significance of indigenous communities in the development of the country and infuse self-confidence wherever needed.

Paying rich tributes to Veer Birsa Munda, Khandu said a person like him is born once in a generation, who lived only for 25 years but made a difference not many could.

“At a very early age Bhagwan Birsa Munda realized that colonialization by the British would become the death knell for indigenous culture and took up arms against the British Raj. He mobilised the tribal community against the British and forced the colonial officials to introduce laws protecting the land rights of the tribals,” he said.

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Pema Khandu expressed gratitude to Modi for recognizing the contribution of people like Veer Birsa Munda in India’s freedom struggle as well as preserving indigenous culture.

He informed that Arunachal Pradesh too has its share of freedom fighters but expressed concern that they were not properly documented and were lost in history.

“They fought for the nation’s freedom and most of them died in the battle for Independence. But their stories have remained unknown and their contributions unrecognised as India celebrates 75 years of Independence,” he said.

He revealed that the state government, under a committee headed by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, has documented stories of 157 “unsung heroes” and submitted a list of 60 of them so far to the Centre, seeking recognition of their contribution to the freedom struggle.

The list includes Matmur Jamoh, who had killed British officer Noel Williamson at Komsing village while his followers killed Gregorson at Pangi, both in East Siang district on March 31, 1911.

However, he died in obscurity and very few records are available about his last days at Cellular Jail, where he was along with others.

“Not only the Adis of the central Arunachal belt, the Idu Mishmis, Wanchos, Singphos and the Khamptis in the East and the Akas in the West had also resisted the British and fought wars with them,” he informed.

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Deputy CM Chowna Mein, in his address, said that Veer Birsa Munda was not only a freedom fighter but a religious leader too and a protector and promoter of tribal folk culture.

The senior leader of the region announced that the coming Statehood Day celebration will be dedicated to the unsung heroes in order to give them a befitting tribute.

He further said that the names of the unsung heroes have already been uploaded in the portal of Unsung Heroes by the Govt of India while a few more names are in the process of uploading.

Mein said that research scholars are re-writing the history of Arunachal Pradesh which would be included in the school syllabus so that the future generation will be able to read the state’s history in the schools.

Earlier, a statute of Bhagwan Veer Birsa Munda was unveiled by the chief minister along with other dignitaries.

The statue was erected at the initiative of local MLA Jummum Ete Deori.

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Besides the local legislator, also present on the occasion were Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao and MLAs Gum Tayeng, Zingnu Namchoom, Karikho Kri, Mutchu Mithi, Dasanglu Pul and Samlung Mossang.

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