India should take a hint from Arunachal Pradesh unrest before abrogating Article 35A, which offers special status for the state of J&K, after its Union Minister Kiren Rijiju declined to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to six non-native communities. This decision was quickly taken by the state government after protests broke out in Itanagar on Sunday.
The Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein’s private residence was set on fire by the protesters. The office of the deputy commissioner was also ransacked. Three protesters were also killed and scores injured. The state took a violent turn on Friday and continued till Sunday against the BJP government’s decision to grant PRCs to six communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said they are not taking the PRC matter forward. Khandu reassured the people of the state that they will not take up the matter of issuing PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) in future.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu said “Still a few incidents are taking place where few young boys have lost their lives and are injured. I am deeply saddened for this and once the situation is normalized I will visit the families personally.”
The Chief Minister appealed to the people to end the protest and cooperate with the government. He said a commissioner-level probe has been ordered to find the facts behind the unrest.
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“Arunachal Pradesh is a peaceful State. I believe there are some forces behind all the incidents. Though the forces have been increased, it is not a matter of satisfaction to me” CM Khandu added.
The Chief Minister said he believes fewer security personnel are better for the society and future. To make the situation normal again, Satya Gopal, Chief Secretary issued a statement saying that the government will ‘never take up the PRC issue again’.
Meanwhile, Kashmir observed a shutdown on Sunday to protest against the government’s attempt to play with Article 35A. ‘We the Citizens’, a non-governmental organization had filed a petition claiming that the Article 35A is discriminatory.
Article 35A gives special status to the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), like Arunachal Pradesh’s PRC, to determine who is a permanent resident. Moreover, it enables the government to confer privileges on permanent residents and restricts the non-permanent residents. Over the years, J&K has protested any attempt to abrogate or amend the Article 35A.