Itanagar: Situation in the capital city continued to be tense and highly volatile as the protest against the state government’s move to grant permanent residence certificate (PRC) to six non-tribal communities in Arunachal Pradesh took a violent turn since Sunday morning.
Apart from vandalising deputy CM Chowna Mein’s bungalow, protesters also allegedly looted some leading business establishments, including Sohum Shoppe, in Naharlagan.
ITBP personnel have also been reportedly deployed in the affected areas to control the law-and-order situation.
Situation worsened when protesters reportedly entered the deputy CM’s private bungalow in Niti Vihar and set it ablaze. One protester sustained bullet injury after the police resorted to firing to control the situation. It has also been reported that protesters tried to damage CM Pema Khandu’s bungalow near the circuit house. Violence continued in several other parts of Itanagar and Naharlagun.
It has also been reported that goods worth over Rs 15 crore were looted openly from Sohum Shoppe in Naharlagan by a section of people in the name of protest. Apart from the store, some other business establishments were also allegedly targeted on Sunday.
Protesters are opposing the proposal to grant PRC to six non- Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APST). However, CM Khandu on Saturday evening said that the state government has already decided that the matter will not be tabled in the ongoing Assembly session.
“The matter of PRC has been going on for a long time now and even the previous government had tried to resolve the issue. The first committee was formed along with the former chief minister and former member of Parliament Lt. Jarbom Gamlin, following which another committee was formed which filed a recommendation in 2017 where it said that people should be given PRC. However, the report only had the signature of Takam Sanjoy and not others,” Khandu said.
On Saturday, the protestors resorted to pelting stones and shooting catapults, and the police responded by firing tear gas and blank shots. It is reported that a youth, identified as Riso Tarih (22), a native of Laying village in Kurung Kumey district, died in police firing on Friday night, while another was injured.
It is learnt that the protestors have decided to bury the deceased at the tennis court near IG Park.
Earlier on Saturday, 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.
To control the ongoing unrest in Itanagar, the local administration had 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, including the Indira Gandhi Park, DK Convention Center among several others came under the attack of protesters. Protesters even burnt down government vehicles and bus stops in Itanagar.
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.”