Arunachal seeks autonomous council for Naga districts

Arunachal seeks autonomous council for Naga districts

Days after signing of a framework agreement between the Centre and the NSCN(IM), the Arunachal Pradesh government has approached the Centre seeking an autonomous district council in the Naga-dominated Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of the state.

The NSCN(IM) had earlier claimed that the issue of Naga integration was part of the competencies set in the deal, the Arunachal Pradesh government, like Assam and Manipur, is apprehensive that the Naga deal might be a threat to the state’s territorial integrity.

Although Arunachal Pradesh claims that it wants an autonomous council to develop the Naga inhabited areas, sources said the idea was also to bring the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh closer to the mainstream.

A delegation led by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, comprising all his cabinet ministers, MPs of the state and MLAs from the thee Naga dominated districts, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence on Sunday and submitted a memorandum urging Centre for immediate formation of Patkai Autonomous District Council covering the three sensitive districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding.

Age-old demand

Sources in the government said Singh assured them that the Centre would seriously look into the demand. Tuki gave a historical overview of the demand for Patkai autonomous district council.

He explained that the people of the three districts, which have been continuously affected by insurgency leading to poor socio-economic conditions and lack of development, want speedy development in their region, sources added.

Noticeably, the demand for formation of Patkai Autonomous Council was passed by the Assembly in 2004 and 2007 and the Cabinet approved it in the year 2013.

The proposal was then sent to the Union home ministry and a committee headed by Joint Secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs, was constituted by the then UPA government, which had visited the three districts in February 2014. Since then, the issue had remained on the back-burner. The region in contention forms a border with Myanmar, Assam and Nagaland.

It has been a hotbed of insurgency. Both NSCN-K and Ulfa have been active in the area. There have been several allegations of ceasefire violations by NSCN(IM) cadres in the three districts.

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