Hunger Strike at Tennis Court, Itanagar

This is formal announcement from the AAPACSU President.

Infinite Hunger Strike is from 27 November 2019 onwards. It is no fun. No one wants to suffer this way. But our State government is an adamant one that refuse to listen to the voice of local people and rather cater to outsiders.

But here we are in a place we don’t want to be. The government does not respond to a single demand: Do not allow Settlers (Temporary Settlers) of Vijoynagar to participate in Panchayati Raj process, because that is meant only for the local people.

The press release by AAPACSU and AYSU on 20 Nov 2019 was briefly made available on Video.

And this matter was reported by several dailies.

  • Orgs demand deletion of non-APSTs from Panchayat electoral roll, announce indefinite hunger strike (AP Times, 21 Nov 2019)
  • HUNGER STRIKE IF EX-AR SETTLERS ALLOWED PARTICIPATION IN PR ELECTIONS: STUDENTS’ UNIONS (Eastern Sentinel)
  • Student bodies announce indefinite hunger strike (The Dawnlit Post).

I felt the Eastern Sentinel interpreted the press release pretty well. If the government responds before the start of the hunger strike there is no need to organize such event.

The history of this movement called Arunachal Bachao Andolan is also made available by the AYSU.

I share below the write up by the Eastern Sentinel as it is:

HUNGER STRIKE IF EX-AR SETTLERS ALLOWED PARTICIPATION IN PR ELECTIONS: STUDENTS’ UNIONS

ES Reporter

ITANAGAR, Nov 20: The All Arunachal Pradesh Anti Corruption Students’ Union (AAPACSU) and All Yobin Students’ Union (AYSU) have threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike if the state government fails to cancel the rights extended to Ex-Assam Rifles settlers to partake in Panchayati Raj election.

In a press conference on Wednesday, AAPACSU president, Tana Ganesh Tara has alleged that not only allowing outsiders to take part in PR system goes against PR guidelines, but such privileges to temporary settlers are not permitted anywhere else also. Expressing displeasure over the government apathy towards the plight of the Yobins, Tara lamented that allowing non-native settlers to participate in PR system will sideline the local Yobin tribe that is already facing an identity crisis and other untold sufferings since last many decades.“We have been demanding the withdrawal of the order for last three years to protect this marginalized tribe from the destructive impact of races possessing a higher and more aggressive culture.  However the state government turned deaf ear towards our genuine demands. We fail to understand why,” questioned Tara. He said that it is unfortunate that neither state government nor Election Commission have intervened in spite of several protests and ultimatums. All Yobin Students’ Union, President, Ngwazosa Yobin lamented that development has become a mirage for locals due to continuous indifference meted by the state government all these years towards the community. Asserting that Panchayati Raj system was introduced basically for empowerment of local populace, Ngwazosa argued that allowing non-locals to engage in the local self-government is not only unfair against locals of the area but also violates the BEFR act 1873 Act and also the 83rd Constitutional Amendment Act. “We will fight till justice is delivered and we won’t let them file nomination for Panchayat Polls. And if any law and order problems occur then the state government will be held responsible for it,” affirmed Ngwazosa. He also alleged that the authorities also wasn’t  able to give any information when they filed an RTI at Miao ADC office seeking a copy of the order that permitted their participation in the Panchayat election process. “Therefore we become more convinced that the whole process is being done in a conspiratorial manner,” he further alleged.

Meanwhile, according to the organization, in a letter submitted to Deputy Commissioner Changlang at present there are a total of 15 Gaon Burahs who are Non –APST, appointed to look after nine villages inhabited by Ex-Assam Rifles settlers. They had been participating in Panchayati Raj system since 1976 electing their own Gram Panchyat (GPM) and Anchal Samity Member (ASM). However, as per the Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act 1997, it is clearly mentioned that the only the  tribal communities and not even Scheduled Tribes are allowed to participate in Panchayati Raj elections.

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