The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) in a press statement today urged the State government of Arunachal Pradesh to end the treatment of people from the erstwhile Lakhimpur Frontier Tract as second class citizens under the garb of Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC).
In the last three days, Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed violent protest over the recommendation of the Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) to grant PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APST) of Namsai and Chanaglang districts i.e. Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Misings and ex-serviceman belonging to Gorkha communities. Two persons have died, many injured while private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and properties of Nabam Rebia, Chairman of the JHPC in Itaganagar had been burnt down. The State government of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday decided not to act on the recommendations of the Joint High Power Committee.
Countering the identification of the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans and Misings as ‘outsiders’, Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of the RRAG stated,
“Lakhimpur Frontier Tract which was governed by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 had been homeland of the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans and Misings. Changlang district and Namsai district were curved out of respectively Tirap and Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Tirap and Lohit districts were originally part of the Lakhimpur District of Assam and added to the North East Frontier Tract after the Lakhimpur District was divided into two tracts in 1914. In 1943, the Tirap Frontier Tract was formed comprising of certain areas from Sadiya Frontier Tract and Lakhimpur Frontier Tract while the Mishmi Hills District, a part of the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract, was renamed as Lohit district in 1954. The North-East Frontier Tract came to be known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954 and it was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh only in 1972 and it became a State in 1987. The identification of the people from the erstwhile Lakhimpur district as outsiders based on current boundaries of the districts or the State is wrong.”
Clarifying the legal position on the grant of permanent residents status in the country, Mr Chakma stated, “The only law that defines a resident is the Representation of Peoples Act of 1950 under Section 20 and the same must be upheld for all.”