ITANAGAR- Expressing gratitude to the Govt of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for passing the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the recent session of the Parliament, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu termed it fulfillment of a demand pending since decades.
The bill amended the constitutional list of Scheduled Tribes as recommended by the state government and added the indigenous nomenclatures of Monpa, Sajolang, Sartang, Tai Khamti, Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi), Taraon (Digaru Mishmi), Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa and Wancho.
In a thanksgiving program here this evening at the D K Convention Centre, Khandu said the inclusion of the left-out indigenous tribes of the state in the constitutional list wouldn’t have been possible without the constant persuasion by the three MPs from the state, Kiren Rijiju, Tapir Gao and Nabam Rebia, and the concern of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“On behalf of the newly included tribes and the people of Arunachal I extend gratitude my heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Tribal Affairs minister Arjun Munda, Kiren Rijiju, Tapir Gao (MP Lok Sabha), Nabam Rebia (MP Rajya Sabha) and all MPs, especially of BJP,” he said.
Khandu expressed optimism that this will go a long way to ensure the rights of every tribe in the State.
Felicitating Rijiju on his first visit to his home state as cabinet minister for Law and Justice, Khandu hailed the BJP government at the centre for recognizing Rijiju’s calibre and appointing him, a tribal from Arunachal Pradesh, as a cabinet minister of such an important portfolio.
“It is a pride moment for us as Rijiju is not only the first Arunachalee to become a cabinet minister but the first tribal in the country to hold the Law and Justice portfolio,” he said.
Khandu requested Rijiju to positively consider and fulfill the local demand for establishment of a permanent High Court for the state. He informed that the high court building coming up at the present Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court site at Naharlagun is designed in a way to accommodate an independent High Court.
Taking the opportune moment of presence of CBO members in the program, Khandu informed that the state government is working high time to resolve the inter-state boundary issues with Assam. Arunachal Pradesh shares approximately 730 kms of boundary with Assam.
“The High Power Committee under the chairmanship of Home Minister Bamang Felix has already conducted several rounds of consultative meetings with stakeholders on the matter. On 26th the Committee will hold a meeting with all MLAs and deputy commissioners of the districts sharing boundaries with Assam,” he informed.
Khandu said that he has already spoken to his Assam counterpart and have agreed to resolve all issues through bilateral talks sitting across the table. He further revealed that the groundwork under process is based on the recommendations made by the one man Local Boundary Commission constituted by the Supreme Court.
On the contentious issue of Chakma and Hajong refugees settled in the state, he reiterated that as per prevailing Acts and laws no non-indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh can permanently settle in the state.
“The Chakma and Hajong settlers are also human. They too are suffering a lot here. Therefore, we got to evolve a win-win solution for both, them and our indigenous tribes,” he pointed and urged the MPs, particularly Rijiju to pursue with the central leadership for a permanent solution.
Informing about the recent meeting with the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW), the Arunachal Pradesh Women Welfare Society (APWWS) and the Arunachal Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APCPCR) a day earlier, Khandu flagged the issues of girl child’s right over property and the malice of polygamy.
Underlining the significance of Property Rights to girl child, he said, “We all love our daughters and want to give them equal rights be it of education, employment or property. But this needs a proper debate and consultancy with regard to our indigenous identity and tribal rights specifically on property and inheritance rights.”
On polygamy he said that it needs to become obsolete in today’s world.
“The practice must have been socially accepted in the past due to various reasons but I don’t think it is relevant today. Instead of helping the family, the practice of polygamy effects and destroys and lives of women of the family,” he observed.
Lauding the State Commission for Women, APWWS and APCPCR for painstakingly compiling a draft bill on these subjects, Khandu assured that it will be studied in detail and extensive consultancy meetings will be held with all stakeholders to incorporate their views and suggestions before finalizing a final draft.