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Arunachal deputy CM’s home set ablaze amid protests over residency certificates

The protests erupted after a Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) recommended granting permanent resident certificates (PRCs) to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but has been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2019 17:35 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Guwahati, Hindustan Times
Arunachal Pradesh,Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister,Chowna Mein
Protesters also damaged two police stations in Itanagar and Naharlagun(ANI)

Hundreds of protesters defied a curfew and burnt a section of Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein’s private residence in capital Itanagar on Sunday besides damaging many other vehicles and buildings.

The protests against a government panel’s report which suggested granting permanent resident certificates (PRC) to six communities have been continuing since Thursday.

One protester reportedly got injured in the firing by security forces when a mob was trying to damage Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s residence. No official confirmation of it was available.

Protesters also damaged two police stations in Itanagar and Naharlagun, ransacked the office of the deputy commissioner of Itanagar and burned a commercial building in Naharlagun, owned by forest and environment minister Nabam Rebia.

Rebia was chairman of the government panel which advocated giving permanent resident certificates to six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities, who are not natives of the state but have been residing in Changlang and Namsai districts for decades.

“The situation is very tense. The state government is taking all steps to calm the situation,” home minister Kumar Waii told a news agency on Sunday.

Six companies of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed in Itanagar to restore law and order situation. News agency ANI reported that home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Governor BD Mishra.

Also read: Congress instigating people in Arunachal, says Union minister Kiren Rijiju

There is anger among the state’s indigenous communities who feel the BJP-led government in Arunachal is indulging in vote bank politics. Protesters feel Mein was responsible for the move.

On Friday, one protester was killed in firing during the second day of a 48-hour shutdown. Over hundred vehicles were torched or damaged and many including policemen were injured in stone pelting and violence.

The protests forced the state government to drop a discussion on the panel report in the state assembly. The assembly was adjourned sine die on Saturday and curfew was imposed in Itanagar.

The Army, which was also brought in on Saturday, conducted flag marches in the state capital. But despite the curfew and heavy deployment of troops, protesters came out on Sunday and continued the violence.

The state government assurances on not going ahead with the panel’s suggestions fell on deaf ears as protests continued after reports spread that another youth injured in police firing on Friday died on Sunday.

A statement issued by Arunachal Pradesh chief secretary Satya Gopal on Sunday stated that “no further action” would be taken on the PRC issue.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, a BJP MP from the state, told PTI in New Delhi on Sunday that the protests were being instigated by the opposition Congress.

First Published: Feb 24, 2019 15:50 IST