Itanagar: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has submitted a 30-day ultimatum to the state government demanding a “permanent solution” in the matter of the “offspring of an Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) mother and non-APST father enjoying Scheduled Tribe benefits in the state.”
Addressing a news conference at the Press Club in Itanagar on Tuesday, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang said, “Despite the union submitting numerous representations and resolutions, the state government is yet to come to with an amicable solution.”
“Many cases with regards to the offspring issue have been brought to the notice of the AAPSU and we also have a list with the names of the persons who are enjoying such benefits. Most of these people are either millionaires or holding good positions. If the government fails to come up with a solution, we will make the list public and initiate a democratic movement,” Bagang cautioned.
He also said there have been reports of such offspring getting APST certificates through doubtful means and government officials helping them do the same.
“Those issuing/certifying APST status to such individuals will be held responsible in the future,” he said.
Bagang said that the 30-day ultimatum was also for those non-APST individuals who are enjoying tribal benefits to submit their permanent resident and tribal certificates.
According to AAPSU, certain sections of non-local businessmen and individuals, after marrying local women purchase land and other movable/ immovable assets in their wives names. Also, the wives never change and adopt their husband’s surname. In case their son or daughter is married again to a local, the entire property is transferred to their Scheduled Tribe daughter/son-in-law.
This, the AAPSU said has been going on in numerous parts of the state.
A person is entitled to Scheduled Tribe status by birth which cannot be diluted by marriage to a non-Scheduled Tribe person or by way of conversion or adoption. However, that does not entail that the son/daughter born to a tribal woman with a non-tribal husband shall be eligible for Scheduled Tribe and other rights on a par with the indigenous people of the state,” Bagang said.
The union has appealed that the offspring issue be raised in the next assembly session by other political parties, if not by the ruling BJP.
In other demands, the AAPSU has sought the continuation of eviction drive along the right of way (RoW) of National Highway 415 by maintaining a width of 30 metres so that the road is completed early and according to government norms.