Protesters resort to violence; vehicles, bus stops, film festival venue set ablaze
Itanagar: To control the ongoing unrest in Itanagar, the local administration has decided to promulgate curfew from 3 pm on Saturday. Army personnel staging flag marches in some of the sensitive areas of the town.
The demand of scrapping the State government’s decision of granting permanent resident certificates (PRC) to the non- Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang districts took a violent turn on Friday. Protesters resorted to arson and pelting stones at several locations in the state’s capital in Itanagar. Some of the locations include the Indira Gandhi Park, DK Convention Center among several others. Protesters even burnt down government vehicles and bus stops in Itanagar.
Meanwhile, the Congress Party has requested the President of India to impose President Rule in the entire state. Addressing media persons, Sanjoy Takam, president of Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee has urged the state Governor to immediately scrap the present state government for its failure to control the law-and-order situation of the state. The Congress party will also submit a memorandum to the Governor in this regard on Sunday, he said.
The state government has ordered for an inquiry into the incident. The ripples of the protest could also be seen during an event at the Indira Gandhi Park where several bands were gearing up to perform at the Itanagar International Film Festival. The protest broke out while one of the bands from Assam, SKD, was on stage during their sound check. The environ soon turned hostile when protesters started burning down around 10 vehicles following which the marquee worth Rs 3 crore was also set ablaze. Even the equipment carried by the musicians was not spared
The musicians were soon rushed to Hotel Pybss where they took shelter for the night while over 100 artists were trapped at the Convention Centre. Sharing the intensity of the incident, Alobo Naga, a well-known musician from Nagaland, shared a post of social media platform Facebook.
The post reads “The mob burned down our car (Innova) including all our instruments along with all the other vehicles parked inside the venue (IG park). The stage, sound system, portable movie theatre, trucks, gen set etc. all down the ashes. We are holed up inside the hotel PYBSS, which is near the secretariat. All the firing happening just outside our hotel.”
After a more or less peaceful first day of the 48-hour band called by Arunachal Law Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, United Arunachal Indigenous People’s Forum, All Tagin Students’ Union, Arunachal Anti-Corruption Union among a conglomerate of 18 student and civil organizations, the protest took a violent turn on Friday. Police personnel had to resort to firing, tear gas shells and use water cannons to disperse the protesters. On day 2, one of the protesters sustained bullet injuries in police firing while several police personnel also sustained injuries due to pelting of stones by protesters.
Meanwhile, Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu took to Twitter to inform that the government has decided not to table the matter of PRC in the ongoing assembly session.
The post reads, “Keeping in view the present situation, Government has decided not to take the PRC matter in current Assembly Session.”