‘Return Us Our Livelihood’: Artists Rue Loss as Arunachal Violence Hits Maiden Film Festival


Itanagar: The state government’s decision to grant permanent resident status to two out-of-state tribes has kept Arunachal Pradesh boiling since last week. After an agitated crowd looted and burned the private residence of Deputy Prime Minister Chowna Mein, the first International Film Festival in Itanagar had to withstand most of the fury of the protesters.

Several vehicles parked outside the place were burned by the mafia on Friday night. The stage, the portable cinema, the generators and the musical instruments of the artists also suffered acts of vandalism.

The festival was later canceled and more than 50 artists, filmmakers, musicians from Mumbai, Goa and other northeastern states were safely evacuated. The actor and director of Bollywood Satish Kaushik was among them.

The popular Nagaland-based musician, Alobo Naga, whose vehicle along with the musical instruments were set on fire by the agitators, recalled the night and said: “As a musician, our musical instruments are our only source of sustenance and they do not even have insurance. so much, I ask the government to also pay compensation to all those who lost their valuables in the violence. ”

The gallant of Assam, Zubeen Garg, supporting Naga, asked the state government to compensate the musicians immediately. On Sunday, the artists’ fraternity in Assam organized a rally in Guwahati, condemning the violence.

Chinmoy Banikya, guitarist from Assam, said: “It seems like a conspiracy to destabilize the region.” The theme of “outsiders” has always played an important role in the politics of the region, when Assam is boiling over the issue of outsiders outside the country, the neighboring state is experiencing similar problems in the matter of outsiders from other states. ”

As the situation in Arunachal Pradesh deteriorated, Chief Secretary Satya Gopal said in a statement: “Considering the current situation regarding the granting of the PRC to non-Arunachal Pradesh communities in the Namsai and Changlang districts, the government of the state decided that no additional measures will be taken with respect to the concession of the PRC. ”

So far, at least three people were killed and another 35, including 24 police officers, were injured in the protests. More than 200 vehicles, including police vans and official vehicles, were damaged since Friday. The army has also been summoned and is conducting a flag march in areas hit by violence in Itanagar and Naharlagun.

The administration closed the curfew and suspended internet services until the situation improved.

In addition to looting the residence of deputy CM, a police station and the deputy commissioner’s office, protesters also set fire to a commercial complex in Naharlagun. One person also died when he was shot by security forces after a mob tried to attack the residence of Prime Minister Pema Khandu.

The issue of giving to the People’s Republic of China has led to isolated incidents of upheaval in the state since December last year, when Khandu and Mein announced that people from six communities, including Moran, Deuri, Mishing, Sonowal, Adivasi tea tribes and former Changlang military and Namsai districts prior to 1968 will receive PRC as a “New Year’s gift”.

The new wave of violence began on Friday when locals called for a strike against the government’s decision to present the recommendation followed by a shot by police during a protest march and the death of a protester. The sources said that a group of agitators marched to the secretary of state when the police opened fire.

Already, the session of the current assembly was also suspended sine die by speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok on Saturday. The head of government of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, clarified that the state government was not presenting the bill to the People’s Republic of China, but only presented the panel’s report. However, despite the state government’s statement, the protests continued and the protesters demanded the resignation of both CM and Deputy CM. The sources said that the state is possibly looking at a President Rule shortly.