Congress seeks Arunachal CM’s removal, curfew stays

Congress seeks Arunachal CM’s removal, curfew stays

A building set on fire after a mob went on a rampage during a protest against the move to grant permanent resident certificates to six communities living in the state, in Itanagar on Sunday. PTI

The Congress in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday boycotted an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Pema Khandu to diffuse the ongoing tension and moved Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his removal.

Curfew was still on in state capital Itanagar as protesters refused to relent, despite Khandu’s announcement that the BJP-led government would not pursue the Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) issue, which triggered turmoil in the frontier state on Friday.

"The gross mismanagement by the state government in handling the PRC issue, which started as peaceful protests in two districts has brought life to a standstill now. We have information that situation is till volatile and it may further escalate. We strongly condemn the action by the state government that led to brutal killings of unarmed protesters and causing injuries to several others. The government has shown utter insensitivity to the issue and instead allowed violent action. Even Union Minister Kiren Rijiju resorted to politics over the issue,” the state Congress president Takam Sanjoy said in his letter to Singh.

Talking to DH, Sanjoy demanded that Presidents' rule be imposed in the state to restore normalcy as the Khandu government had failed to handle law and order situation.

Three youths died in firing by security forces on Friday and Sunday as protesters set ablaze the deputy chief minister's residence and tried to attack the chief minister's residence.

The angry mob, which has been agitating against the government's proposal to offer PRC to six non-tribal groups, also set the deputy commissioner’s office in Itanagar on fire, clashed with police and damaged an all-woman police station.

The organisations are against the move fearing that this could allow the groups to get reservations in jobs and educational institutes meant for the Scheduled Castes.

The army conducted the flag march for the third day on Monday as curfew remained still in force.

A worried Khandu held a meeting with civil society organisations and made a public appeal to restore peace.

Khandu also convened a meeting of his Cabinet, in which he is likely to take "major decisions", sources in the government said.

"We have ordered a commissioner level inquiry as we also suspect some hands behind the violence. Arunachal is a peaceful state but the way violence took place, it raises suspicion," Khandu said in a video posted on social media.