Bandh against Arunachal govt panel proposals on PRC turns violent

Multiple cases of stone pelting and vandalism were reported from various parts of Itanagar on February 22, the second day of the 48-hour Arunachal Pradesh bandh called by several organizations in protest against the granting of permanent residence certificates to non- Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes.

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Protestors set ablaze five vehicles and also burnt the offices of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) and All Nyishi Students Union (ANSU) in Itanagar, police said.

AAPSU supported the recommendation of the Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) constituted by the state government on May 1, 2018 to study the PRC issue.

The protestors also resorted to stone pelting and even threw stones at the vehicle of former chief minister Nabam Tuki, capital Superintendent of Police, M Harsh Vardhan said adding police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.

Bandh enforcers also blocked the NH-415 at several locations by burning tyres despite heavy security coverage.

Massive security forces have been deployed at the civil secretariat in Itanagar in view of the protest.

The Joint High Power Committee, after holding parleys with the stakeholders, has recommended granting PRC to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but has been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.

The proposals have evoked resentment among several community-based groups and students’ organisations, who claimed that the rights and the interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the state government accepts it.

The recommendation of the JHPC is likely to be tabled in the ongoing session of the state Assembly on Saturday.

The bandh was also total on the second day as all business establishments and financial institutions remained closed while public and private vehicles remained off the road.

Attendance in government offices was also thin during the bandh period.

At Namsai, all businesses were shut for the second day on Friday in protest against the issue.

Police has detained 27 bandh callers in Itanagar on Thursday but later released them.

The bandh enforces vowed to intensify their protest on Saturday if the JHPCs recommendation is tabled in the assembly.