Observations from Facebook Discussions on Gorkha of Arunachal Pradesh

Following the rally in Itanagar (24 June 2017) in support of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling by Gorkha unions of Arunachal Pradesh, several discussions are taking place on Voice of Arunachal Facebook page. The basic reasoning is: If Gorkhas could demand a separate land in West Bengal, what is the guarantee that it will not happen in Arunachal Pradesh in future?

One particular post was by a user named, Dr. Yami Lee, at the Voice of Arunachal published on 25 June 2017. Though not well refined in writing and organizing, the post received 567 Likes and 129 comments at the time of writing this article (4.30 pm 26 June). That could mean, she has touched a relevant topic and which Arunachal Pradesh would face soon. The post is 3 page long and messy to read. Following are few highlights from the post:

· Today they protest here for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling. Tomorrow they will cry for Gorkhaland in Arunachal Pradesh.

· Increasing population of Nepali and Gorkha unions in the State is serious threat.

· Then she explained the avenues for entry for Gorkha and other outsiders to the State, such as relaxed administration, local Inner Line Permit rackets etc.

Reactions to this post are diverse as expected. Two groups primarily seem to emerge to my observations.

One group thinks that such demand for separate Gorkha District/State will never occur in Arunachal Pradesh. They argue as long as the Inner Line Permit system and Panchasheel Act are in force, no outside community will ever have such privilege. Law provides protection.

But the other group that says it could happen takes example from West Bengal, the formation of Gorkha unions in Arunachal Pradesh, demand for Permanent Residential Certificate (PRC), gradual increase of Gorkha population in the State. Due to the development of these trends, they argue that laws can be amendment with majority demand which has already a trend setter in Tripura.

Personally, I see the Arunachal people are just starting to wake up now. Taking the case of Vijoynagar, there they have been provided land, given power to participate in Panchayati Raj (not privilege given elsewhere in the State), given trade license outside their settlements.

The Ex-Servicemen Settlers of Vijoynagar Circle came in as Settlers. Though these Assam Rifles’ pensioners are from multi-ethnic backgrounds, they are beginning to claim their identity as Gorkha.

Rest you decide.

Below is the post of Dr Yami Lee as it appeared.


Today protest here for Darjeeling Gurkha Land, sure tomorrow they will protest for GURKA LAND IN ARUNACHAL,increasing nepalis population in state its seriuos threat for future,astonished they have been already form gurkha union in state, realy its dangerious alarm for future arunachalees,today we are facing here CHAKMA AND HAJONG issue but tomorrow we are going to face nepalis and bangladeshi then integration of nepalis, chakmas and bangladeshis will dreadful or nightmare threat for upcoming days,many arunachalis ladies intermarried with nepalis, bangladeshi or others, their abandont kids stay here and give local name and status so this sourse of increase nepalis or other populations which is going to imbalance the demographic future of local populations,here we don’t oppose to your marriage whatsoever you like but we oppose you to dwell here with your abandont kids or you have to go with husbands’ state or home .The issue of illegal immigrants in Arunachal pradesh is not new. This has been there since long time back. The influx of illegal immigrants had been time and again discussed in many fora. In all these fora, participants expressed their major fear that this influx of illegal immigrants would destroy their demography one day. And today, the reality is the survival of the very local people is under serious threat and these so-called illegal immigrants started indulging in all sort of heinous crimes. They had scant respect for the married couple even.

Sadly, this dangerous trend started spreading wantonly without much hindrance either from the locals or local administrations. And innocent citizens have been watching helplessly to all these unwanted developments over the years. The civil societies and local administrations were caught napping. Then hurriedly, whenever any heinous crime was committed by these so-called illegal immigrants, we would wake up and rush to the issue without much strategy only to find that most of these people possessed Inner Line Permits (ILPs). Unfortunately, after some time, the heat would fast subside till such time a new heinous crime was committed by these illegal immigrants.

But the complication came up when we started checking ILP defaulters among the nepali or others illegal immigrants communities. Interestingly, most of them again have possessed ILPs issued by the local administrations. But those of ILP defaulters or so-called illegal immigrants would not be found in towns and cities. They would smartly come to towns and cities to commit crimes and return to outskirts of towns and cities or even interior nearby villages to avoid any police arrest. It is also wondering whether police had really checked about the ILP status of any of such non-locals when they made any arrest of these non-local criminals.

The problem here becomes more compounded as these so-called illegal immigrants possessed domicile certificates issued by the Assam’s local administrations. And when these people of doubtful integrity have produced all the documents required, the local administrations here in Arunachal Pradesh have absolutely no way to object to their ILP applications. Besides they could easily impersonate as Indian nepali as they could fluently speak Hindis.

Yet, the grey area, which has literally become a threat to the state, is the administration without properly scrutinizing the documents of these people of doubtful integrity simply issued ILPs to them. Worse, they indulged in issuance of Temporary Permits (TP) wantonly to many of such people of doubtful integrity.

Another shocking trend is there are lots of ILP racketeers going on in the State. This has largely added to the already fragile situation in the state. It will be certainly wrong to say that all the criminal activities are committed by the non-local but it is largely true that majority of the crimes are committed by the non-arunachalees. While discussing about the illegal immigrants, we also should not forget that there are thousands of other non-locals of other origins—like Bhutias and Tibetans. These people have largely succeeded in business ventures in the state. At least in itanagar, they have done exceedingly well in business sectors. The good thing of these people is they don’t indulge in crimes.

Whenever Illegal Bangladesh Immigrants (IBI) issue is stressed, the larger context of understanding NE in general becomes unavoidable as the issue is interlinked. The threat has taken an alarming proportion in the North East (NE) India like in Tripura where indigenous Tripuris are minority in their own land and in Assam around 40 lakh bangladeshi immigrants are deeply entrenched, acting as vote bank commanding undue influence in 40 of the 126 constituencies & no party can come to power without appeasing them. This continuous influx of bangladeshi to NE through the porous border has become a serious threat coupled with apathy of central govt. and the helplessness & insensitivity of the state govt. Though NE in itself is under developed and many of its educated youth migrates to mainland cities for jobs what could be the push and the pull factor behind this trend? The reasons can be;

1. Over population in Bangladesh: Bangladesh has one of the world highest densities of population with 1142 person per sq.km (2011 census). The Malthusian nightmare of land unable to sustain the population is happening bane with corruption and ill- governance.

2. Huge availability of fertile land in NE mainly Assam: The land hungry immigrants in need of more lebensraum sneak into sparsely populated but fertile NE mainly Assam & settled there in large number in connivance with corrupt govt. Officials.

3. The need for cheap labour.

The immigrants in Arunachal Pradesh especially from Bihar and UP has been there for a long time and threat perceived was high until the huge unbridled influxes of bangladeshi immigrants who seem to indulge in all the wanton crimes of thief, murder, bottle legging, drug peddling, raped & even hobnobbing with underground elements. Bangladeshi immigrants has come into sharp focus once again since the gang rape of a married woman in states by miyas & the communal spurt in the district of Dubri and kokrajar in Assam followed by unprecedented exodus of North Easterners from mainland India due to threat and reprisal. This is indeed a sign that a time is fast approaching when we will be targeted outside but have no respite at home either.

Immigration is a major concern especially in Itanagar, pasighat, Roing,Chanlang Tirap etc where ILP is not in promulgation and hence the free flow of illegal immigrants, i.e, the miyas or nepali. ‘They have intermarried with the locals… known as semiyas or semi-nepalis or others (hybrid of nonarunachalis) and now their number varies around 80,000 to 100,000 foreboding a major threat to Arunachal demography and a possible source of future tension.. Many might have felt the danger pulse but are too helpless, too selfish or just too lazy to do anything. The insensitivity of the govt. to the appalling abnegation have detected & deported as pittance as illegal immigrants so far. Today occasional border tension especially in Assam-Arunachal border has been caused due to illegal immigrants.

Itanagar has some 4000 lacs non-local shops and the immigrant makes half the population of Itanagar controlling the economic nerve of the state. This amounts to severe economic drain as they brings back no remuneration as no single paisa in invested in the state from the profit it gains. But until this trend is reversed or optimized to a reasonable proportion local economy will be poor as ever. On the other hand there is poverty and unemployment of the locals who are more indulgent and indolent and do need thorough crash course in the art of good business nature.

One decade hereon if this trend goes unchecked, the red line will also be multiplied and so is the helplessness because immigration is not going to stop or stabilize but would only get worse because the push factor is too strong. Even now if we find it difficult, how much more it will be in the near future or when they managed to grab some power as is most likely. This kind of problem is at best tackled at its nascent stage because when it becomes acute, it is already late. Also it would be foolishness if we failed to learn a lesson or two from Assam and Tripura. but here even our very existence is at threat. No wonder all those political berating will soon be relegated into the background as the immigration issue takes the forefront. There is no escape route, hence, the sooner the better strong measure is taken to safeguard our land and culture from occupation and contamination because we have nowhere else to go except this small god given land.

Whether it is the apprehension of repercussion outside the state or just the insensitiveness of the state govt. making an excuse for its negligence, there is no substitute to this problem rather than outright strong legal measure roping in civil societies on a war footing.Taking the example of Tripura & Manipur where 10% of the state total areas control the other 90% from the Agartala and Imphal valley respectively, similar things can happen in Arunachal Pradesh too with Itanagar and Pasighat.I hope every citizns of Arunachal will comprehend the issue or united and fight together against the invasions ,only our unity will provide our strength,some soul might be hurt but the truth is bitter, time has arrived for searching some souls where the thing is going so here I end up my writing any disappoint I apolz or any grammar I accept.

By Dr. B. Yami

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