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None killed in police firing, not aware of additional force deployment: Arunachal home minister

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Press Trust of India Itanagar
Expressing dismay over the violence that broke out here over the issue of granting permanent residence to non-natives, Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Kumar Waii Tuesday denied reports that three persons were killed in police firing during the protests.
The minister also claimed he wasn't aware of deployment of additional companies of the ITBP and the CRPF in the state capital, fuelling speculations of a rift within the Pema Khandu-led government.
"I am deeply shocked to learn about the death of three youths, but none of them was killed in police firing. I had directed DGP SBK Singh and SP (Itanagar) M Harsh Vardhan to put the trouble mongers behind bars without any violence," he said, while responding to a volley of questions from media persons.
On Sunday, sources had said three persons were killed and as many injured when police opened fire on the agitators.
Protests had broken out in Itanagar and Naharlagun town on Saturday after the ruling BJP government announced that it was considering issuing permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six non-Arunachalee communities, prompting the administration to clamp curfew and suspend internet services.
The six communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Gorkhas, Adivasis and Mishings.
The agitation, which raged on for three days despite the curfew, subsided after Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced Monday that his government wouldn't pursue the issue any longer.
An official said the curfew was lifted Tuesday morning but the internet services continued to remain suspended for the fourth consecutive day.
Waii said people should cooperate with the police to ensure their safety and security.
Pointing out that it wasn't possible to pin blame on any particular group or community for the protests, Waii said taking action under such circumstances was unlikely.
He also denied knowledge of political involvement in the violence and asserted that a thorough inquiry would be conducted into the episode.
Asked about Khandu's decision to constitute a peace committee, Waii said he would follow instructions as and when he was asked to.
He also said he had sent messages to Khandu, requesting him to call for a cabinet meeting and all-party convention to bring normalcy in the trouble-torn capital.
"The cabinet meeting was held Sunday, but I wasn't officially intimated about it," the home minister said.
Asked to clarify on the requisition for additional forces, he said rule suggests that the DGP send the proposal to the home minister for further processing.
"I am not aware who made the requisition for the Army, ITBP and CRPF personnel," he maintained.
Waii appealed to the people to stand united to ensure peace in the capital.
"Itanagar is our home and all possible efforts should be made to restore normalcy here," he added.
Khandu had earlier appealed to the people to cooperate with the government in maintaining peace.
The chief minister also announced Rs 20 lakh as ex gratia for the next of the kin of the three persons killed during the protests and Rs 10 lakh each for those seriously injured.

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First Published: Feb 26 2019 | 8:00 PM IST

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