What’s Driving Protest In Arunachal Pradesh Over PRC?

The protesters claimed that the rights and interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the proposal is implemented
The protesters claimed that the rights and interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the proposal is implemented

Guwahati, February 25, 2019

The protests over the issue of the permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six communities of Arunachal Pradesh took a violent turn in Itanagar in the last two days, with three people dying in alleged police firing to control the mobs. The protests spread despite a state government-led by Pema Khandu assurance that they had deferred the plan to give them PRC.

So what exactly is the PRC? Here is all you need to know about the PRC which is causing a stir in Arunachal Pradesh.

Sohum Shoppe located in Itnanagar, Arunachal Pradesh was vandalized amid protests over PRC. Photo: Time8
  • Permanent resident certificate

The permanent resident certificate is a legal document issued to Indian citizens. The certificate serves as evidence of residence and is required to be submitted as residential proof for official purpose.

  • Inclusion of non-tribals

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Arunachal Pradesh government is considering issuing the certificate to the six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APSTs) communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.

State Environment and Forests Minister Nabam Rebia-led Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) recommended granting PRC to the six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Resentment & protest

People in Arunachal Pradesh are protesting after the Arunachal Pradesh government announced that it was considering issuing PRC to six non-APSTs and to the Gorkhas.  Amongst those communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis and Mishings.  Most of these communities are recognised as Scheduled Tribes in neighbouring Assam.

The protesters claimed that the rights and interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the proposal is implemented.

  • PRC dropped

The recommendation of JHPC was supposed to be tabled in the Assembly on February 23rd, 2019. However, buckled under pressure from violent protests, Pema Khandu-led BJP government dropped the issue of PRC from the discussion in the 60-member Assembly on February 22nd, 2019.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and maintain peace.

Khandu reiterated that the PRC matter would never be taken up by the state government.  “We had earlier clearly stated that PRC issue will not be taken up. I reiterate, the PRC matter will never be taken up by the state government henceforth.  I sincerely appeal all my brothers and sisters for peace to ensure in the state capital,” Khandu said.