Protesters burn Arunachal film festival pandal

Protesters burn Arunachal film festival pandal

More than 50 filmmakers, artists and technicians remained stuck in the festival venue at Itanagar as the protesters continued to vandalise the pandal and attack vehicles. File photo for representation

Burning of a pandal by protesters forced the Arunachal Pradesh government to postpone the three-day-long first Itanagar International Film Festival (IIFF), scheduled to begin on Friday.

The vandalism took place during a 48-hour shutdown called by at least 18 local organisations to protest the BJP-led government’s move to grant Permanent Residence Certificates (PRC) to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts.

More than 50 filmmakers, artists and technicians remained stuck in the festival venue at Itanagar as the protesters continued to vandalise the pandal and attack vehicles. Police opened tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

The artists were evacuated on Saturday morning. Satish Kaushik, Roni Lahiri, crew members of filmmaker Rima Das, beside others were stuck at the venue since Friday.

The first IIFF was scheduled to showcase the best of the cinema of the Northeast and of East Asian countries.

Screening of at least 40 films, including Indian Panorama, World Cinema, and Far East Asian Films, children’s films, documentary films, competition section films and outdoor screenings were part of the festival itinerary.

The state government, which was supposed to table a bill in the Assembly on Saturday for granting the PRC, decided to postpone it in view of the violent protests.

The violent protests left the BJP-led government worried ahead of Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.