Vijoynagar Case: Perspective Difference on the Actual Reason for Violence

The News Daily has been consistently clear:

  • The AYSU has been demanding immediate removal of the panchayati raj rights extended to the ex-AR settlers in Vijoynagar, and shifting of the settlers out of Vijoyanagar.(AP Times, 11 Dec 2020).
  • The agitated mob was demanding immediate debarment of ex-Assam Rifles settlers in Vijaynagar from participating in the panchayat election, and shifting of the settlers out of Vijaynagar. (AP Times, 13 Dec 2020).
  • The Yobin community has been agitating and resorting to peaceful democratic protests against non-inclusion of settlers and non-APSTs under PRI since last many years with numerous dharnas, hunger strikes, etc, even being held in Itanagar,” it pointed out, and sought a more direct approach by the state government and engagement with the Yobin community on the vexed issue. (AP Times, 13 Dec 2020).
  • The mob demanded immediate debarment of ex-Assam Rifles settlers in Vijoynagar from participating in the panchayat election, and shifting of the settlers out of Vijoynagar. (AP Times, 23 Dec 2020)
  • On 11 December, a mob, allegedly led by the AYSU, torched government buildings and offices in Vijaynagar. The mob demanded immediate debarment of ex-Assam Rifles settlers in Vijaynagar from participating in the panchayat election, and shifting of the settlers out of Vijaynagar. (AP Times, 25 Dec 2020)

Govt’s view

But the govt agencies view differently. The intelligence and Police wanted to investigate “foreign elements” in this incident”. The DC wanted to ferociously deal the villagers for burning the office. While the Local Minister assured to protect the Settlers. Home Minister planned to take strong action.

  • Amar Sangno’s article “Vijaynagar violence: Shooting two birds with one stone?” (AP Times, 15 Dec 2020), is in short a report of what the intelligence and security agencies as suspicious about. He reported: “The agencies are reportedly being compelled to explore the possibility of the involvement of external forces in what they termed “coordinated and well-thought-out” violence.… investigating whether the demand for the exclusion of the ex-Assam Rifles settlers from the panchayati raj electoral list was just a cover-up with a bigger, hidden motive behind it.”
  • “My first impression is also there could be a foreign element, because the government of India offices were targeted. As of now, it is a matter of investigation. We are looking into all possible angles. If there involvement of foreign elements, the truth would be unearthed” Apa said. (IGP (Law & Order) Chukhu Apa, AP Times, 19 Dec 2020).
  • “All issues can be resolved by talks and discussions and the district administration will protect the interests of all our citizens,” the DC stated in a release, adding that those who indulge in violence will be dealt with sternly, in accordance with the law. Devansh Yadav, DC Changlang, AP Times, 14 Dec 2020).
  • Since 11 December, Mossang has been persistently appealing to the people of the valley to respect the rule of law and maintain peace and tranquillity. In Vijaynagar, the minister assured that the state government is committed to protect the Gorkha settlers from any threat. (K. Mossang, AP Times, 14 Dec 2020)
  • Home Minister Bamang Felix: Felix has expressed anguish over the destruction of public properties in Vijoynagar. Terming the incident unfortunate, he said such antisocial acts would not be tolerated and strong action would be taken against those responsible for it. “We accepted the demand of the Yobin students’ union and accordingly the panchayat election was postponed. Whatever happened is unfortunate and violence has no place in a modern society,” said the home minister. (AP Times, 12 Dec 2020)

Yobins and Student Organizations

While our tribe, the AAPSU and AISU are on the other end of the spectrum:

  • Yobins response: Representatives of the Yobin community stated that they did not endorse or encourage the violence which took place on Friday. They, however, stated that it was “a spontaneous act out of frustration against the state government over decades-long deprivation on many fronts.” (AP Times, 15 Dec 2020)
  • At the same time, the AAPSU squarely put the major responsibility for the escalation of the problem on the state government, saying the government was “not being reciprocative to the sentiment of the Yobin community of the area.” “There is a need for self-retrospection and soul searching on part of the authorities as to why members from the Yobin community were compelled to take such extreme measures. The Yobin community has been agitating and resorting to peaceful democratic protests against non-inclusion of settlers and non-APSTs under PRI since last many years with numerous dharnas, hunger strikes, etc, even being held in Itanagar,” it pointed out, and sought a more direct approach by the state government and engagement with the Yobin community on the vexed issue. The union reminded the state government of similar existing problems in other assembly constituencies and said that “consistent disregard for the indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations may invite more such happenings in the near future, as well.” (AP Times, 14 Dec 2020).
  • In a letter to the chief secretary, the AISU stated the incident could have been averted “had the state government timely responded to the demands of the locals.” It said that the peaceful protest had turned violent as the government did not respond despite submission of several memorandums, which hurt the sentiments of the locals, the students’ community and the indigenous people of the state. The union said that “the locals had every right to raise the issue as giving tickets to non-APSTs as it violates the laid down Panchayati Raj norms of the state.” ( AP Times, 12 Jan 2021)

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