Family members of Risso Tari

Itanagar: The family members of Risso Tari, the first to be killed in the recent anti-Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) agitation in the capital city of Arunachal Pradesh, has refused to accept the ex gratia amount announced by the state government and has instead demanded the one(s) responsible behind the “murder” to be produced before them within a week.

Tari’s family has placed this demand in front of the state government and the organisations responsible for the 48-hour bandh call which had left the capital city boiling for almost a week.

Tari (22), a native of Laying village in Kurung Kumey district, was one among the three, who died in the police firing last week. The other two victims of the agitation were Biki Ruja (20) and Tsering Wangdi (34).

While Tari was allegedly shot dead on February 22, Ruja and Wangdi lost their lives on the protests that happened near chief minister Pema Khandu’s private bungalow on February 24.

Following the deaths, CM Khandu on Monday had announced ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh for the families of those who succumbed to their injuries, along with the assurance of providing government jobs to the next of kin of the deceased.

The chief minister had also announced ex-gratia of up to Rs 10 lakh for those who were injured in the clashes that took place from February 21 to 26.

Addressing a news conference at the Press Club here, Risso Kiagung, the elder brother of Risso Tari said that the latter’s death was not an accident and instead “a pre-determined and intentional cold blooded murder executed by the security personnel on duty”.

“There is no law in the country that says that the police personnel can shoot to kill protestors during democratic movements. There are many other mechanisms that the police can follow to disperse or neutralize the crowd. It seems the district administration and the police willfully did not opt of such methods during the recent agitations,” Kiagung said.

He also said that the family members of Tari have never demanded the government to compensate them for the loss or has placed any other demands in front it.

“We will not accept the compensation as we never asked for it. How long would the government announce ex-gratia for precious lives which are lost during such democratic movements?” Kiagung questioned, further demanding the government to reveal the name the person who had given the firing orders.

“The State’s home minister has recently stated that he was unaware of the firing orders and of any additional requisition of forces during the stage PRC movement. If he did not give the firing orders, then who did it,” Kiagung said.

Further contradicting CM Khandu’s claim of being in constant touch with the family members of the deceased, Kiagung said that no one from the government has even paid a courtesy visit to them till date.

He also took a dig at the unions, particularly Arunachal Law Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union and Nyishi Ethnic Students of Arunachal who had initiated the 48-hour bandh call and had later allegedly placed demands in front of the government on behalf of the families of the deceased and injured.

“The “leaderless bandh” called by these organisations is illegal and they have no right to demand compensation for us. I appeal the unions to stop trying to act like heroes. This is our fight and we will fight for justice,” Kiagung said.

Replying to a query on what action would they take on the person if he was produced before them, Tari’s family said they would award punishment to the culprit as per the customary law of their tribe (Nyishi).

Terming Tari as a martyr who sacrificed his life for the state and its indigenous people, the family has at the same time appealed all concerned to stay away from politicising the issue.

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