Demand for creation of Mon autonomous region started in 2003 and is still pending before the government of India

Itanagar: The 17-year-old demand for creation of Mon autonomous region, which started in 2003, has re-surfaced in Arunachal Pradesh again with the Mon Autonomous Region Demand Committee (MARDC) calling for a tripartite talk to be initiated with the state and Central government at the earliest.

According to the MARDC, the demand for creation of the Mon autonomous region, which started in 2003, is still pending before the Ggovernment of India despite the state assembly passing a resolution in this regard a year later.

“The state legislative assembly has already adopted and resolved for creation of an autonomous district council of Tawang and West Kameng along with that of the Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts way back in 2004 and forwarded the same to the Center. The demand, however, is still pending after a series of follow up action over the years,” the MARDC said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a meeting to discuss matters related to the pending demand was also held in Tawang. The meeting held under the aegis of Monpa Mimang Tsokpa (MMT), the apex organization of the Monpa community, witnessed a horde of issues pertaining to creation of the Mon autonomous region being discussed.

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A memorandum requesting the state government to take up the long-pending demand was later presented to chief minister Pema Khandu.

Following the demand for creation of Mon autonomous region under the provisions of the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, the Centre had in 2014 constituted a four-member high-level committee to deliberate upon the same.

The committee, headed by the then joint secretary in the home ministry Shambu Singh, had also visited Tawang in February 2014 and met the members of MARDC and civil society members.

The MARDC had, a year later, met union defence minister (then home minister) Rajnath Singh in which it had reiterated its demand.

Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) had submitted a memorandum to CM Pema Khandu on Wednesday. AAPSU has opposed the demand for creation of the Mon autonomous region (MAR) and Patkai autonomous council (PAC) in the state and asked the government to act cautiously on the same.

The apex student body, through a press release on Thursday, said “The demand and subsequent creation of MAR comprising the Tawang and West Kameng districts and the Patkai autonomous council (PAC) comprising Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts is bound to open floodgates for similar demands from various regions within the state.”

“If the autonomous councils are created, the other regions of the state will naturally feel deprived and would also want to be part of such a new exercise which will usher in overall development in their respective areas while ensuring preservation of their culture and other rights,” said the release.

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AAPSU also questioned the government “If it would take similar initiatives if such a situation arises”.

“Though the AAPSU is aware of the efforts put in by various stakeholders regarding the creation of MAR and PAC since 2003 and passing of resolutions in the state assembly regarding the same on two different occasions, the union has, however, always demonstrated its skepticism over the matter since the very beginning,” the release said.

“The AAPSU is of the view that any development in this regard should also take into cognizance the present socio-political realities in the state. The yardstick to measure the level of economic development and progress is almost the same for every region in a multi-tribal state like ours. Any attempt which sows seeds of discord and division among the various tribes should be averted as every community and region aspires for progress, prosperity and cohesive development,” the release said.

“There are already departments like the Karmik and Adhyatmik Affairs and DoTCL (department of Tirap, Longding and Changlang) in the areas demanding for an autonomous council and major chunks of the state and central development funds are also allocated to them,” it said.

As Arunachal Pradesh is a 100% tribal state, any such developments should be inclusive and all communities should be made part of the development process, the release said.

The AAPSU has further appealed to the state government to have a holistic approach into such demands and take every region together along the path of prosperity and development which may have far reaching ramifications in the long run.

“The state government must act with caution in such sensitive matters and should not allow a fault line to be drawn on the basis of region or community,” the union said.

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