Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday appealed for peace and sought to assure the people of the state the government would not take up the Permanent Residence Certificate matter after violence rocked the state over the weekend.
Two persons were killed and three injured in police firing as protests over recommendations of granting permanent resident certificates (PRCs) to six communities escalated on Sunday, police sources told PTI.
“On the night of 22 February, I had clarified through media and social media that the government won’t hold further discussions over this. Today also, an order has been issued via the chief secretary that we won’t take up the PRC matter,” Khandu said.
“I would like to appeal to all those protesting that their demand had already been accepted by government on 22nd itself. PRC issue is closed. I request them not to hold protests and dharna and cooperate with the government,” Khandu said.
Police had on Sunday opened fire when protesters tried to attack the private residence of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu at ESS sector in the afternoon. Security personnel urged them to return, but without paying any heed to the request, the protesters marched towards his residence and started pelting stones.
To control the situation, police had to resort to firing in which two men, aged between 20 and 24 years, were killed, the sources told PTI. Three others were injured in the firing.
The body of another person, who was killed in alleged police firing on Friday night, was kept by the protesters at the Indira Gandhi Park here and they said that it will not be buried until their demands were met.
So far, two persons have lost their lives and four injured as massive protests broke out over the PRC issue in the state.
Pema Khandu had called an all-party meeting on Sunday to take stock of the situation and decide on future course of action, but none of the parties, including the opposition Congress, NPP and PPA turned up.
“Considering the present situation pertaining to grant of PRCs to non-APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes) of Namsai and Changlang districts, the state government has decided that no further action will be taken in grant of PRCs,” Chief Secretary Satya Gopal said in a statement on Sunday.
Violence in the state
On Sunday, protesters allegedly set ablaze the private residence of Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and ransacked the office of the deputy commissioner here, police said.
A large number of people marched through the streets vandalising public property and vehicles. They also set on fire a large number of vehicles parked in the compound of the DC’s office.
The agitators attacked the Itanagar Police station and several public properties in the state capital, police said, adding that they allegedly damaged the Sohum shopping mall here and looted the valuables, besides setting ablaze a market complex in Naharlagun.
The agitators have been demanding permanent resolution to the PRC issue, immediate resignation of the chief minister, unconditional release of protesters (numbering around 40) and immediate transfer of the chief secretary, among others.
A Joint High Power Committee (JHPC), after holding parleys with the stakeholders, recommended granting PRCs to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh, but has been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.
The proposals evoked resentment among several community-based groups and students’ organisations, who claimed that the rights and the interests of indigenous people would be compromised if the state government accepts them.
The Nyishi Elite Society (NES), apex body of the largest community in the state, has appealed to the people to remain calm and use maximum restraint to evade further escalation of violence.
It also condemned the state government for “late and inept” handling of the bandh call given on February 21 and 22, and “failing to read the pulse and demand of the people”.