Arunachal backtracks on PRC after violence, all-party meeting postponed

ITANAGAR:

The Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday froze its decision on the controversial permanent residence certificate (PRC) that triggered widespread violence for a third day, leading to the torching of the Deputy Chief Minister's house.

A worried Chief Minister Pema Khandu had convened an all-party meeting on Sunday night to discuss the prevailing situation which Home Minster Kumar Waii described to IANS as "very tense and uncontrollable" but it was later postponed to Monday.

"The all-party meet, which was scheduled to be held on Sunday night has been rescheduled for tomorrow (Monday). The Chief Minister will also chair a meeting of all community-based organisations to discuss the PRC," an official in the Chief Minister's Office, told IANS.

Sources, however, said the meeting was postponed as other parties refused to take part unless the Governor summons it.

Earlier on Sunday, Chief Secretary Satya Gopal said in a statement: "Considering the present situation in respect of the matter pertaining to grant of PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe residents of Namsai and Changlang districts, the government has decided that no further action shall be taken in respect of grant of PRC."

The announcement came as Home Minister told IANS: "The situation is very tense and uncontrollable. The state is taking all steps to calm the situation."

On Sunday, a mob set fire to the house of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein.

Security forces resorted to blank firing as the the unruly protesters defied curfew and marched towards the Chief Minister's residence.

It was not clear if anyone was injured in Sunday's firing.

The protesters also set fire to and vandalized two police stations in Itanagar and adjoining Naharlagun, while a Superintendent of Police officer was reportedly injured.

Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Renault and Mahindra showrooms were vandalized.

Meanwhile, the relatives of Risso Tari, who succumbed to his bullet injuries in police firing on Friday, sought justice for him.

Governor Brig B.D. Mishra (retd) condemned the violence.

Appealing for peace, Mishra said: "Arunachalis have always demonstrated their rationality, sagacity and maturity in their conduct under all circumstances."

Mishra advised the state government to take all precautionary measures to prevent further mayhem.

Four Army columns were deployed in the capital while authorities suspended Internet services across the state to avoid the spread of fake news.

The protests were called on Friday evening by 18 student and civil society groups. Later that day, protesters set ablaze 50 vehicles and damaged over 100 vehicles.

The mobs alleged the a committee led by Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia had submitted its report on PRC without proper verification of facts.

The indigenous communities in Arunachal Pradesh believe that they will suffer if the PRC is extended to other communities.