BJP sweep in Arunachal in 2019 amid violence over PRC, CAA

\'Never again will we take up the issue of PRC. The issue is closed,\' Khandu declared on national TV.

Itanagar: The BJP's lotus bloomed well and truly in Arunachal Pradesh post the assembly elections in 2019, a year otherwise marked by violent protests in the northeastern state over the proposal to grant Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) to six non-native communities.

The saffron party romped home in the state for a second term, bagging 41 seats in the 60-member House, as well as clinching the two Lok Sabha constituencies.

The JD(U), which made its maiden entry into the electoral scene of Arunachal Pradesh, won seven seats, while another debutant National People's Party (NPP) secured five constituencies. The lone regional outfit - Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA) - bagged a single seat.

Hours after the BJP's landslide victory, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in a Facebook post: "Will stand up to expectations of the people of the state. Good news is that we now have our own team of elected BJP members in the Assembly - the first elected BJP government in Arunachal. With the 'double engine sarkar' - Modi govt at the Centre and Pema government in Arunachal, it's good days ahead!"

The Congress, which had won the 2014 assembly polls, was stung by a rebellion, and Khandu took oath as chief minister in 2016 following a bitter political crisis.

The grand old party managed to bag just four seats in the 2019 elections.

The electoral battle aside, Arunachal Pradesh was rocked by widespread violence and arson over grant of permanent residence to the six non-native communities -- Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Gorkhas, Adivasis and Mishings.

Protests erupted in Itanagar and adjoining Naharlagun in late February against the proposal to accord PRC to the non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APSTs) communities in Namsai and Changlang districts, and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.

Curfew clamped on the capital city and other towns did not deter protesters from venturing into the troubled streets that wore scenes of pitched battles with security forces, which left three people dead, including two in police firing.

Scores of people, including security personnel, were injured in clashes.

In the ensuing violence that lasted for days together, the private residence of deputy chief minister Chowna Mein was set ablaze along with hundreds of vehicles, and the office of Itanagar deputy commissioner ransacked.

The unrelenting agitation compelled the state government to put a lid on the issue and announce a judicial probe into the large-scale rioting, violence and vandalism.

"Never again will we take up the issue of PRC. The issue is closed," Khandu declared on national TV.

In the second half of 2019, the northeastern state was once again witness to massive protests, this time against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as influential students' unions decided to boycott examinations and demanded immediate withdrawal of the contentious legislation.

Thousands of agitators, led by the Rajiv Gandhi University Students' Union (RGUSU) and the Students' Union of NERIST (SUN), marched to the Raj Bhavan, covering a distance of close to 30 km of hilly terrain.

People belonging to the Assamese community also took part in the protest rallies, raising slogans against the BJP- led government at the Centre.

"We oppose the CAA and want its immediate revocation. The law will divide the region on religious lines and jeopardise the existence of the indigenous people," the protesters said in a referendum.

According to the amended act, non-Muslims, who escaped religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014, will be granted Indian citizenship.

It, however, exempted tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and regions covered under The Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime.

At present, the ILP regime is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

The protesters, however, claimed that Assam was the gateway of the northeast, and the region would suffer if CAA is implemented in the state.

During the year, security forces also intensified operations against underground groups active in the state, after suspected NSCN members gunned down sitting MLA and NPP assembly poll candidate Tirong Aboh and ten others, including his son and security personnel, in Tirap district on May 21 - just two days before the election results were announced.

Aboh (41), who had switched over to the NPP from the BJP after being denied a ticket, was seeking a re-election from Khonsa West assembly constituency.

The MLA was on his way to his constituency from Assam, along with family members, police personnel and a poll agent, when the suspected rebels opened fire on their vehicles near 12 Mile area in Tirap.

Over the next few months, around 30 members belonging to various factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) were apprehended.

Catch the latest news, live coverage and in-depth analyses from India and World. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Next Story