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Arunachal Pradesh tense after 1 killed in police firing, 50 cars gutted

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 24, Feb 2019, 10:51 am IST | UPDATED: 24, Feb 2019, 10:56 am IST

Arunachal Pradesh tense after 1 killed in police firing, 50 cars gutted

Delhi: The situation in Arunachal Pradesh remains tense after authorities snapped internet services and imposed prohibitory orders.

The tensions escalated after a person was killed in police firing on Friday night. The police fired upon protesters when they were trying to enter the Civil Secretariat in Itanagar.

They were seeking changes in the recommendations made by a government-appointed panel for granting permanent residence certificate (PRC) to people from other states.
The Joint High Power Committee, after holding parleys with stakeholders, has recommended granting PRC to six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but have been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.

The recommendation of the JHPC was supposed to be tabled in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly on Saturday but was not tabled as the Speaker adjourned the House sine die.

As a precautionary measure, Internet services in Itanagar, the state capital, have been suspended. The Army was called in and it conducted flag marches between Naharlagun and Itanagar.

Protesters burnt down nearly 50 vehicles and damaged over 100 others on Friday evening. They also pelted stones at the police and 35 people, including 24 cops, were injured, police said.

On Friday night, the protesters also attacked a music band from Nagaland--Alobo Naga--that was participating in a film festival in the city. The band members escaped unharmed but the mob torched their car and instruments.

"We are holed up inside hotel PYBSS, which is near the Civil Secretariat," Alobo Naga wrote on their Facebook page.

Beside this, five theatres associated with actor Satish Kaushik were also burnt in the protests that rocked Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanager on Friday night.

"I am associated with five theatres named Picture Time. I am a promoter. I got a call this (Saturday) morning from the owner, Sushil Choudhary, that our five theaters were burnt," Kaushik told news agency IANS on the phone while being evacuated to Guwahati along with 50 other delegates to the first Itanagar International Film Festival, which was cancelled after the violence erupted.

"I reached yesterday (Friday) and went to the hotel. I was supposed to get ready for the evening function... But they (organisers) said 'hold on' there is some problem ... The event could not take place due to protests. The protesters were on a rampage and pelting stones. We couldn't make it to the convention centre.

"There was a fire. We got stuck. We thought we'd leave in the morning but we got stuck."

We crossed the border with the help of an IAS officer. He sent people and about 10-12 vehicles for us. Then we crossed the (Arunachal Pradesh) border," Kaushik added.

Meanwhile, the protesters also burnt the offices of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) and All Nyishi Students Union (ANSU) in Itanagar.

AAPSU and ANSU have supported the recommendation of the Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) in regard to giving permanent residence certificate to people from other states. The panel was constituted by the state government on May 1, 2018 to study the matter.

On Saturday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed the people to maintain peace in the state. "Home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh over the phone and discussed the prevailing situation and ongoing protest in certain parts of the state. He has urged the people to remain calm and maintain peace in the state," the home ministry said in a tweet.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted that he is "sorry" to hear about the death of an innocent youth in police firing in Itanagar. "My condolences to the family of the young man. I pray that the injured make a speedy recovery and that peace returns to Arunachal," he said.

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