Arunachal Pradesh government’s announcemment that it was considering granting Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) to non-tribals residing in Namsaiand Changlang districts of the state has evoked strong resentment from a prominent tribal group here Saturday.
The Arunachal Pradesh Abotani Community Confederation (APACC), a prominent community based organisation, has slammed the state government for announcing it hastily without considering a report which is due to be filed shortly.
APACC also demanded the state governmentto immediately retract statement.
Addressing mediapersons here, chairmanof APACC Taba Taku said that the organisation was not against granting PRCs to genuine non-tribals but the government should wait for the report which is due to be filed by the Joint High Powered Committee headed by state Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia which is studying the issue.
“The state government had undermined the sentiments of the indigenous people of the state and without consulting them had announced to grant PRCs to the non-tribals which will bear negative impact,” Takusaid.
Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief MinisterChowna Mein said in Assam recently that granting PRCs to the non-tribals would be a new year gift for them.
Taku added that without going through the pros and cons of the issue, the deputy chief minister made the announcement which is “nothing but a policy of appeasement before elections”.
When the community-based organisations (CBO) and the state government is working on a framework for suitable solution to the issue, how the deputy chief minister made the announcement without waiting for the committees report? Taku wondered.
While condemning the move, the organisation pointed out that there was no mention about granting PRCs to non-tribals in the Statehood Act.
When contacted, Mein said that the government is working on an “acceptable solution” to the impasse and would act according to the report filed by the committee.
We are waiting for the final report which will be submitted by the end of this month. The report will be placed before the cabinet and accordingly, an acceptable solution will be hammered out.
I made the announcement saying that it will be a new year gift for the people of the state as the government will definitely work out an amicable solution which will be acceptable to all, Mein said.
Addressng a rally at Namsai on Saturday, Chief Ninister Pema Khandu said the PRCissue cannot be kept pending for long.
“It is our responsibility that the issue of PRC be solved once and for all else it has the potential to disturb the peace and harmony in the area,” he said and added that the interests of the indigenous tribal population will be taken care of and cut-off dates will be set to qualify for PRC.
Khandu said the commission set up to study the PRC issue has the report ready, which has been prepared taking into account the ground realities with inputs from indigenous tribal population.
The PRC has become a major issue in the state in recent times with all the connunity based organisations, including students bodies, opposing the move which compelled the state government to constitute the committee with members from students unions and CBOs besides MPs and opposition MLAs, to study the issue and submit a report within six months.
Around 300-400 households of non-tribal communities have settled in Namsai and Changlang districts of the state over several decades and have been demanding the PRCs.
Six non-tribal communities reside in Lekang constituency under Namsai district, which Mein represents. Two non-tribal communities reside in Vijaynagar (Changlang district), followed by four in Namsai, two in Chowkham (Namsai) and four in Diyun-Bordumsa (Changlang).
Khandu and Mein on Friday had an interaction with various CBOs of Namsaidistrict regarding the granting of PRC to the non-Arunachalees.
Executive members of CBOs namely, Tai Khamti Singpho Council, Tai-Khamti SingphoStudent Union, Tai Khamti Development Society, Singpho Welfare Society and All Namsai Area Youth Association had expressed no objection to the granting of PRC to the eligible non-APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe) permanently residing in Namsai and Changlang districts with 1968 as the cut-off year.
However, they said that a proper dossier should be maintained as per the cadastral survey of 1968.
Khandu said the government would bring the PRC issue before the cabinet for discussion after the final report is available. He added that the government is positively considering the long pending demands of the non-Arunachalees permanently residing in the two districts.