States Round Up Issue-01 July to September 2010 Index Page
Full version of the report

Arunachal Pradesh



I. Highlight: Former Chief Minister goes to jail! 

On 24 August 2010, former  Chief Minister Gegong Apang was arrested by a Special Investigation Cell (SIC) constituted by the Guwahati High Court in connection with the Rs. 1000-crore scam in Public Distribution System (PDS) in the state. Gegong Apang was accused along with over 50 others for involvement in the PDS scam of siphoning government money by making false and fraudulent hill transport subsidy bills.1 The Arunachal Citizens Rights filed the PIL before the High Court.

Despite that, irregularities in Fair Prices Shops (FPSs) continued in the state. A survey conducted by All Papumpare District Students’ Union in September 2010 found that gross irregularities in selling and distribution of ration items to beneficiaries and card holders by FPSs in Papumpare district led to deprivation and acute shortage of such items. The survey found that items like kerosene, rice (including Below Poverty Line and Antyodaya Anna Yojana), sugar etc. were issued to those FPSs but the beneficiaries were denied of these items. Instead, these items, in particular kerosene and sugar, were being sold to other shops at higher prices to earn maximum profit. Besides, most of the shops were open for only one or two days in a month and ration items were sold out within those days. [1]

In a welcome development, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India constituted a Four
Party Committee under The Chairmanship of Joint  Secretary (NE), MHA on 10 August 2010 to examine various issues related to Chakmas and Hajongs which include their settlement in Arunachal Pradesh and grant of Indian citizenship to eligible members. Apart from the MHA, the state government of Arunachal Pradesh, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) and the Committee for the Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh have their respective representatives in the Four Party Committee. [2] The state government also separately constituted a Committee on the Chakma and Hajong issue. [3] The Chakmas and Hajongs who migrated from East Pakistan in 1964-1969 are yet to be granted Indian citizenship despite the Supreme Court judgement in 1996  while those who are born in India have been denied enrolment into electoral rolls.

However, before any progress was seen on the Chakma-Hajong issue, the issue of Permanent Residential Certificate (PRC) to non-Arunachalees residing in the state had snowballed into a major crisis with various students’ organisations led by the AAPSU resorting to a series of agitations. On 29 September 2010, the state government revoked its decision to grant PRC to non-Arunachalees in the backdrop of the protests. Earlier, the Cabinet Sub-Committee constituted by the state government recommended grant of PRCs to non-Arunachalees residing in the state before 1968 to reportedly enable them to get education and job benefits. [4] It remains to be seen how the issue is resolved given rights and contentions of all the contending parties.

II. Violations of civil and political rights

Arunachal Pradesh has been witnessing increased human rights violations. During July to September 2010, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) documented a number of cases of violations of the right to life and torture. 

On 15 July 2010, Jumchi Nguso (35 years), an employee with the Transport Department, died due
to alleged torture at the Naharlagun police station in Papumpare district. Jumchi Nguso was hit by an escort vehicle of the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and taken to the police station. Instead of providing medical treatment, he was detained for about two hours and tortured at the police station. The police admitted him to the hospital only when his condition deteriorated but died shortly. The deceased had torture marks all over his body, including in the back. [5]

On 2 August 2010, Miti Mepo (55 years) died after being tortured by the personnel of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBn) at Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district. The deceased sustained serious injuries all over his body and collapsed on the spot. Later, he succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.[6]

On 15 August 2010, the personnel of Assam Police opened unprovoked firing on the villagers of Kamkuh Rusa under Kanubari sub-division in Tirap district following border skirmishes, resulting in serious injuries to one Tajon Wangjen and damage to several houses. Tajon Wangjen succumbed to his injures on 12 September 2010. [7]

Other cases of torture by law enforcement agencies documented by the ACHR are given below.
On 14 September 2010, Khya Sonam, a teacher, was tortured by three personnel of the IRBn for not wearing helmet while riding on his motorcycle in Seppa in East Kameng district. The victim sustained serious injuries and had to be admitted to hospital. [8]

On the night of 30 August 2010, Dr Hage Kano, the Executive Director of Future Generation Arunachal (FGA) was allegedly tortured after being tied up by the personnel of General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) of the Border Road Organisation at Pine Groove GREF Canteen in Ziro in Lower Subansuri district. [9]

On 9 August 2010, a combined team of 19 Assam Rifles and police conducted a search operation at Borduria village in Tirap district and allegedly beat up the villagers after rounding them up from their houses. [10]

On 18 July 2010, Tanong Tamuk, Vice-President of Adi Students’ Union (AdiSU), was subjected to torture by Sub-Inspector PK Chatterjee at Pasighat police station in East Siang district. The victim was taken to the police station for questioning after he had an argument with a police official. Medical examination of the victim revealed that he suffered severe injury in the left ear drum. [11]

III. Abuses by the AOGs

Though Arunachal Pradesh has no local armed opposition group (AOGs), on 4 September 2010, State Home Minister Tako Dabi informed the State Assembly that at least 109 cadres of different AOGs surrendered in Arunachal Pradesh since 2003. However, the state government failed to provide rehabilitation package to any surrendered cadres as in August 2010. [12]
The AOGs from neighbouring States such as the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Isak-Muivah and Khaplang factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) have reportedly set up their bases in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh. [13]

It is alleged that the NSCN factions are active in Tirap and Changlang districts; the ULFA is active in Changlang, Lower Dibang Valley district, Lohit and East Siang districts;  and the NDFB is active in West Kameng, East Kameng, Papumpare, Lower Subansiri, West Siang, East Siang and Lower Dibang Valley districts. [14]

Apart from the AOGs of the Northeast, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a rebel group of Myanmar, was also reported to have had set up its base in Changlang district. In April 2010, the State Home Minister Tako Dabi stated that there were definite intelligence inputs about the KIA cadres infiltrating into Changlang district. [15] These armed opposition groups occasionally kidnap people and extort money. On 13 May 2010, Vijay S. Bardekar, a Forest Officer from Maharashtra, was kidnapped by suspected cadres of NDFB from Daimara village in West Kameng district. The victim was on a holiday in the state. Two local guides accompanying the officer were brutally beaten up by the cadres. [16] He was released on 1 August 2010 after 78 days in captivity. [17]

IV. Violations of women’s rights

Violence against women was on the rise in Arunachal Pradesh. Women and girls were increasingly targeted for sexual violence.

According to the state police data, 75 cases of violence against women, including 26 rapes, were recorded from January to September 2010. [18] As on 2 July 2010, the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) received 574 cases, of which 30 to 40 cases were solved, 231 referred to the Deputy Commissioners and the rest were still under process. [19]

The APSCW stated that  maximum cases registered with the APSCW within 2005-2008 pertained to child/forced marriages (including marital rape) closely followed by domestic violence and multiple marriages. [20] Kurung Kumey topped among the districts from where complaints and cases of child marriage were received. [21]

The security forces were themselves responsible for perpetrating violence against women. On 8 July 2010, Dolly Chetri was raped and murdered allegedly by the personnel of 38th Battalion of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at Nagmandir village under Rupa Police Station in West Kameng district. The residents of Nagmandir village alleged that the victim was raped and killed by four SSB personnel who were later handed over to police by the residents while they were trying to escape. [22]

The APSWC remained ineffective because of the lack of funds and lack of authority to have its recommendations implemented. On 2 July 2010, the APSCW urged the state government to increase the allocation of funds to the Commission claiming that the paucity of funds took toll on its functions to a large extent. [23] Further, a number of cases directed back to District Magistrates for settlement were tried in the local traditional courts like the “kebang”.

V. Violations of ESCRs

a. Violations of the right to education

The state of education was deplorable due to government apathy. According to the Department of Education, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, there were over 1500 educational institutions in the state. These include 68 higher secondary schools, 109 middle schools, 1289 junior basic/primary schools and 46 pre-primary schools. [24]

Majority of the students study in government schools in the state. However, the state government failed to improve facilities in the schools. According to a NGO survey, about 83% of children ranging from age group 6 to 16 years attend government schools and 10% children attend private schools and 0.5% attends central government funded schools like Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jawahar Navodaya Vidhyalaya etc. Around 6% children from age group 6 to 16 years do not go to any school. The survey also revealed high percentage of school dropout. In the age group between 15 to 16 years, school dropout percentages of boys were 12.5% and that of girls were 13.9%. [25]

The main reason for drop out from schools was found to be poor financial condition of the parents. In lower age category (3 to 4 age years range) the survey found that most of the children especially those from rural areas hardly attend any pre-school education or Anganwadi centre. Children from interior areas have been found to be attending school very lately and they constitute the highest number of school dropouts. [26]

The report further revealed that 24.4% of primary schools have no access to water supply, 5.1% have water supply facilities but tapes are running dry due to non-availability of water. There were no toilet facilities in 30.8% primary schools and 11.8% of upper primary schools. 20.5% primary and 30.3% upper primary schools have toilets but were non-functional. In majority of the schools, there were no separate toilet facilities for girls. [27]

In Kurung Kumey district, having lowest literacy rate in the country as per the UNDP Human Development Report, 2005, the conditions of government schools, including Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), were abysmal due to absence of teachers for long periods. In August 2010, the District Administration during an inspection of various schools found that around 40 teachers, mostly SSA had not visited schools where they are posted for last two years. [28]

Further, education has been affected in Arunachal Pradesh due to occupation of schools and hostel buildings by paramilitary forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations. The Boy’s Hostel of the Government Higher Secondary School, Khonsa in insurgency-affected Tirap district has been under the occupation of the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) since 2006. Due to the continued occupation of the hostel the students’ studies had been greatly affected resulting in poor academic results. The students were forced to stay in rented houses due to the continued occupation of the school. Rented accommodations were also not easily available in the area. The district administration failed to address the problem. [29]

b. Non utilization/mis-utilisation of social sector funds

The state government had failed to submit utilization certificates (UCs) for development fund from the Centre. The failure of submission of UCs resulted in non-release of development fund for the state under Swarna Gramin Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (NREGA), Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Sanitation and Water Supply. The UCs for schemes being implemented under SGSY and Indira Awaj Yojana (IAY) were yet to reach the Union Ministry from various districts of the state. The state government also failed to submit the detailed project reports (DPRs) for construction of rural roads under the Prime Minister’s Special Package. [30]

The state government also failed to utilize the fund under the National Rural Health Mission. For instance, there were reports of non-performance/under performance, non-submission of physical performance reports, low coverage of immunization, non-utilization of funds, irregular/incomplete/low quality Health Management Information System reporting in the state. [31]

There was allegation of embezzlement of fund under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) in the Upper Subansiri district. The Gram Panchayat Members (GPMs) were reportedly not consulted and their consent not taken by the District Planning Commission while approving the perspective plan in violation of the prescribed guidelines. The implementing agencies were also allegedly making payment without ensuring any work execution under BRGF and Border Area Development Programme. On 20 July 2010, a delegation of GPMs of Upper Subansiri district demanded investigation over the allegations. The GPMs further alleged that there was misappropriation of Twelfth Finance Commission grant. In 2009-10, the Centre had released Rs 8,90,000 for Upper Subansiri district but the money had not been released to the Gram Panchayats as on 20 August 2010. [32]

c. Forcible displacement by dams

A large number of dams are being built Arunachal Pradesh and the state government has signed Memorandum of Understanding with several private firms for 10 major hydropower projects to generate an estimated 30,000 MW power in 10 years’ time. [33] Theses dams will cause huge displacement of the tribal peoples apart from destroying bio-diversity.

The 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro-Electric Project being built in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh border has been opposed as the area is highly seismic prone and will cause displacement and submerge large forest areas in both the states especially in downstream areas of Assam like Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Jorhat districts. [34]

In September 2010, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh called for scrapping the Lower Subansiri dam in Arunachal Pradesh after an expert committee report in June 2010 said the dam was not environmentally feasible. Minister Ramesh recommended for a review and redesign of the dam. [35]
Among other dam projects, the Lower Siang Hydro Electricity Project is slated to submerge the entire Silli village in East Siang district. On 5 August 2010, 52 affected families of Silli village submitted a memorandum to State Chief Minister regarding compensation and resettlement. [36]

Endnotes:
1. Gross irregularities in FPSs: APPDSU, The Arunachal Times, 15 September 2010
2. Report Card of Ministry of Home Affairs for August, 2010, available at: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=65490&kwd=
3. Three day legislative session starts on a monotonous note, The Arunachal Times, 4 September 2010
4. Arunachal Cabinet revokes order on PRC to non – Arunachalees, Zee News, 29 September 2010
5. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission,  16 July 2010
6. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 4 August 2010
7. ‘Hero of Shimhokho’ loses battle of life, The Sentinel, 12 September 2010
8. Three IRBn boys suspended, cases against citizens for destruction of public property, The Arunachal Times, 16 September 2010
9. AYA demands arrest of GREF personnel, The Sentinel, 1 September 2010
10. Borduria searched, AR denies use of force, The Arunachal Times, 12 August 2010
11. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission,  26 July 2010
12. 109 militants surrendered in Arunachal in last 8 yrs, IBN Live, 4 September 2010
13. Fence Myanmar border: Arunachal Home Minister, The Assam Tribune, 10 August 2010
14. 109 militants surrendered in Arunachal in last 8 yrs, IBN Live, 4 September 2010
15. KIA helping NE rebels to create China bases, Eastern Mirror, 11 April 2010
16. Maharashtra officer ‘kidnapped’ in Arunachal untraced, The Hindustan Times, 15 May 2010
17. Kidnapped Maharashtra official freed after 78 days in Arunachal; IBN Live, 2 August 2010
18. Crime statistics of Arunachal Pradesh Police, available at: http://arunpol.nic.in/asp/crime_stats_app.asp
19. APSCW demands adequate funds for better functioning, Echo of Arunachal, 2 July 2010
20. APSCW completes 5 years of its existence, The Arunachal Times, 19 January 2010
21. APSCW demands adequate funds for better functioning, Echo of Arunachal, 2 July 2010
22. Complaint of Asian Centre for Human Rights to National Human Rights Commission, 26 July 2010
23. APSCW demands adequate funds for better functioning, Echo of Arunachal, 2 July 2010
24. Department of Education, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, available at: http://arunachalpradesh.nic.in/education.htm
25. Deplorable state of affairs in Govt runs schools, The Arunachal Times, 8 October 2010
26. Ibid
27. Ibid
28. AAPSU, ANSU and ACR hail Kurung Kumey DA crackdown on teachers, The Arunachal Times, 14 August 2010
29. NSU against CRPF occupation of hostel, The Arunachal Times, 21 July 2010
30. UC submission failure hinders fund in Arunachal, The Shillong Times, 12 July 2010
31. Non-utilisation of funds and under performance reflects at NRHM Review Meet, The Arunachal Times, 30 July 2010
32. GPM delegation apprises PR Minister of their grievances, The Arunachal Times, 21 July 2010
33. Arunachal hydro project could lead to flooding’, Zee News, 25 October 2010
34. Halt mega dam plans in Arunachal: Assam panel, The Hindu, 19 July 201
35. Arunachal dam should be scrapped, says Jairam, The Hindustan Times, 11 September 2010
36. Villagers demand legal agreement, The Arunachal Times, 6 August 2010
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