ITANAGAR/BORDUMSA: In the backdrop of violence in remote Vijaynagar Circle, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) has called upon the State government to "take seriously" the issue related to the conferment of Panchayati rights to non-Arunachalees.
Expressing anguish over the recent incident of violence at Vijaynagar in Changlang district, the AAPSU in a statement said, "the State government is majorly responsible for the escalation of the problem in the area as it was not being reciprocative to the sentiments of the Yobin community.
"There is a need for self-retrospection and soul searching on the part of the authorities as to why the members of the Yobin community were compelled to take such extreme measures," said the AAPSU.
It added that the Yobin community has been agitating and resorting to peaceful democratic protests against the inclusion of settlers and non-Arunachalees under the Panchayati Raj system for many years.
As 'Panchayat Raj' comes under the absolute domain of the State government, there should have been a more direct approach and engagement from the Arunachal government on this vexed issue, said the Union.The AAPSU also said that there are similar problems in other Assembly constituencies across the State as well that require immediate attention.
"It has to be understood that consistent disregard for the rights and aspirations indigenous people may invite more such mishappenings in the near future. The government should view the issue seriously and immediately take up AAPSU's previous demand for the amendment of Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act, 1997," the union said.
The AAPSU further said it does not advocate or encourage any form of violence and Friday's incident at Vijaynagar was an unfortunate one. It appealed to all the communities to maintain peace and tranquillity in the area. It also appealed to the Yobin leaders to check the influx of illegal migrants in the area.
Vijaynagar witnessed widespread arson on Friday as a mob of around 400 people reportedly led by the All Yobin Students' Union set fire to the offices of the extra assistant commissioner, Special Branch of the state police and the post office, besides ransacking the local police station.
The civil helipad was also partially damaged by the mob.
The protesters were demanding the cancellation of electoral rights given to non-indigenous people (mostly ex-Assam Rifles settlers) of Vijaynagar in the Panchayat election and their removal from the area. Surrounded on three sides by Myanmar, Vijaynagar is one of the remotest administrative circles of the state, which is yet to be connected by roads. It takes around 6-8 days to reach on foot from the nearest town Miao, which is around 157 km away.