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Khandu blames 'forces' behind violence

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Press Trust of India Itanagar
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said Monday certain "forces" were behind the violent protests in the state over the granting of permanent residency to six non-native communities.
Stating that the situation was limping back to normal and efforts were on to expedite it, Khandu said he sought additional forces from the Centre, which had already sent 1,000 paramilitary personnel to assist the state government in restoring peace.
"I believe that there are forces behind these incidents as Arunachal is a peaceful state, particularly Itanagar," Khandu said in a statement earlier in the day.
Addressing a press conference here after attending a cabinet meeting in the evening, the chief minister dismissed the Congress' demand for his resignation. "The violent protests could be politically-backed. Why should I resign?" Khandu asked.
Protests broke out in Itanagar and Naharlagun town on Saturday after the ruling BJP government announced that it was considering issuing permanent residence certificate (PRC) to six communities who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh, but are living in the state for decades. The six communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Gorkhas, Adivasis and Mishings.
The chief minister appealed to the people to end the protests and cooperate with the government in maintaining peace, saying the administration had already cleared its stand on the PRC.
Stating that the issue "is closed", the chief minister hinted at a communication gap for which the latest government stand on the PRC had not reached the people and led to violence. He also talked over phone to leaders of various communities who were protesting the PRC issue.
Khandu announced Rs 20 lakh as ex gratia for the next of kin of the three persons killed during the protests and Rs 10 lakh each for the seriously-injured.
He said a loss-assessment committee had been set up to compensate those people whose properties were damaged during the protests since Saturday.
Meanwhile, bodies of the two youths killed in police firing on Sunday were taken to North Lakhimpur in neighbouring Assam for post-mortem. The mortal remains would be sent to their homes from there, a senior police official told PTI.
The police had opened fire when a mob was proceeding towards the chief minister's residence after setting fire to the private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein.
The Northeast Frontier Railway announced that the New Delhi-Naharlagun Arunachal Express would be short-terminated at Harmuti in Assam, about 35 km from here, till the situation normalises.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 9:46 PM IST

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