Itanagar: A tribal forum in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday while opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), demanded to exempt the State from the purview of the controversial bill which, it said is in contrary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.
The Arunachal Indigenous Tribal Forum (AITF), a conglomeration of various community-based organisations of the State, termed the bill as ‘anti-tribal’, ‘anti-Arunachalee’ and ‘monstrous’ which might eat up the indigenous population of the State in the long run.
“The State is already plagued with the Chakma-Hajong refugee issue and imposition of the bill in the State will pave way for automatic citizenship to the refugees besides increasing influx,” AITF president Bengia Tolum told reporters at Arunachal Press Club here on Friday.
The AITF on February 2 organized a peaceful car rally in the State capital protesting the controversial bill.
Tolum disclosed that a delegation of AITF had a detailed discussion with Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday and explained to him the overall impact of the bill in the State with reference to the BEFR, 1873.
Arunachal Pradesh is protected under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873, and all Indian citizens need to obtain inner line permit to visit the State.
“The Chief Minister has assured that the State Government will convey the sentiments of the people to the Centre as the Home Ministry has called for a joint meeting of all the chief ministers of NE States on February 11 for consultation on the bill,” Tolum quoted Khandu as saying.
The AITF also expressed resentment over the silence of the two Lok Sabha and lone Rajya Sabha MP from the State on the bill. The forum also alleged that the ambitious Trans Arunachal Highway (TAH) Project sanctioned way back in 2008, failed to see the light of the day due to corrupt practice of the leaders at the helm of affairs.
Tolum while referring to over Rs 100 crore compensation scam in the Potin-Panging stretch of the TAH, lamented that even after submitting documentary evidences of the Fact Finding Committee on the escalated and forged compensation, the State Government failed to take any action against the offenders.
“The State Government so far has arrested only two officers and one private individual. We want to know as to why the other culprits were not arrested and taken to task?” Tolum questioned. He, however, said the Chief Minister assured that justice would be delivered and no culprit irrespective of position would be spared. “On submission of the report by the committee, the Cabinet will take appropriate decision as per law as the TAH scam has tarnished the image of the entire State,” Tolum quoted Khandu as saying.
Tolum added that the State Government has directed the DC concerned to immediately recover the excess payment made in the TAH compensation payment against Potin to Pangin stretch. On granting Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) to six non-Arunachalee communities residing in the State, the AITF while opposing it suggested that the on-going NRC process should be first completed in Assam before granting PRC, as it would legally segregate the floating population of non-APST in the State. The AITF also suggested for detail discussion of the PRC issue with all the community based organisations of the State before taking any decision.
“The non-indigenous should not be granted APST status, not allowed to purchase land, continue to posses ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 and proper legislation to this effect should be made in the State Assembly for protection of the indigenous population,” Tolum added.
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