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  • Arunachal Pradesh


    I. Overview. 1

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces 1

    III. Denial of voting rights to the Chakmas and Hajongs 2

    IV. Imminent displacement by development projects 3

    V. Violations of the prisoner’ rights 4

     

    I. Overview

     

    Ruled by Indian National Congress, Arunachal Pradesh does not have armed opposition groups (AOGs) of its own but continued to be affected by conflict in neighbouring States. The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Socialist Council of Nagalim-IM (NSCN-IM), National Socialist Council of Nagalim-K (NSCN-K), People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and United National Liberation Front (UNLF) have been reportedly active.[1] According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 12 civilians were killed in security related incidents during 2007.[2] On 23 December 2007, former Member of Parliament Wangcha Rajkumar was shot dead by suspected cadres of NSCN (I-M) at Deomali under Tirap district.[3]

     

    The construction of dams in Arunachal Pradesh was the subject of debate in 2007. In June 2007, the Gauhati High Court issued notices following a PIL moved by the Environment Protecton & Sustainable Society (EPSS) to 10 respondents, including the Central Government and the State governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Asom, regarding the allocation of hydro-power projects.[4]

     

    According to the crime statistics of Arunachal Pradesh Police, a total of 2,266 incidents of crime were recorded during 2007. These included 68 cases of murder, 28 cases of attempt to murder, 67 cases of abduction and murder and 49 cases of rape, among others.[5]

     

    There were 39 vacancies and a total of 5,257 cases were pending in the District and Subordinates Courts in Arunachal Pradesh as on 30 September 2007.[6]

     

    Chakma and Hajong migrants continued to be denied enrollment into electoral rolls.

     

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces

     

    According to the information obtained by Asian Centre for Human Rights through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received one case of death in police custody and one case of death in judicial custody in Arunachal Pradesh during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

     

    As more and more AOGs set up bases in Arunachal Pradesh, civilians are increasingly subjected to human rights violation perpetrated by security forces during counter insurgency operations. In April 2007, army personnel abused villagers of Namgo area in Lohit district after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast by suspected ULFA killed two personnel. The personnel allegedly entered houses, destroyed household items and kept the villagers confined overnight without food or water for harbouring militants.[7]

     

    Incidents of sexual violence by the law enforcement personnel have also been reported. On the night of 29 March 2007, Subhash Chandra Adhikari, a Senior Superintendent of Police posted in Itanagar, was arrested on charges of raping his domestic help. The victim alleged that the accused locked her up in his official residence and raped her for 15 days.[8]

     

    In July 2007, Narayan Singh Bisht, a jawan of 23 Assam Rifles, was arrested on charges of molestation a woman at Longding in Tirap district.[9]

     

    On the night of 20 October 2007, two personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) allegedly attempted to rape two tribal school girls at Kimin in Papumpare district.[10]


    III. Denial of voting rights to the Chakmas and Hajongs

     

    In June 2007, the State government of Arunachal Pradesh headed by Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu formed a high powered committee to find out an amicable solution to the Chakma-Hajong issue. The high powered committee headed by Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Setong Sena and includes, among others, all four Members of Legislative Assembly of the Chakma-Hajong inhabited Assembly Constituencies as members.

     

    Both the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) and the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCHAP) welcomed the establishment of the Committee.

     

    At the same time, over 12,000 Chakma and Hajong eligible voters continued to be denied enrollment into electoral rolls. Electoral activities in the four Chakma-Hajong inhabited Assembly Constituencies of 14-Doimukh, 46-Chowkham, 49-Bordumsa-Diyun and 50-Miao remained suspended as a result of complaints of bias on the part of the local electoral officials.

     

    On 6 September 2007, the Election Commission of India revoked the suspension and ordered the conduct of Special Summary Revision of electoral rolls. The Election Commission issued specific guidelines as to how to conduct the revision of electoral rolls in the Chakma and Hajong areas. As earlier, the local electoral officials who are also employees of the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh did not comply with the guidelines and instead they imposed their own directions to ensure that even the 1,497 previously enrolled voters were deleted. As many as 36 out of 326 enrolled voters were deleted from 14-Chowkham Assembly Constituency even before beginning of the Special Summary Revision 2007.

     

    In 49-Bordumsa-Diyun and 50-Miao Assembly Constituencies several Chakma villages were not even officially informed about the revision process and were informed only after the Election Commission of India issued specific instructions following complaints from the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chakma and Hajong claimants were subjected to harassment, humiliation and were openly discriminated by electoral officers led by the Deputy Commissioner of Changlang district Hage Batt, who has been designated as Electoral Registration Officer of 49-Bordumsa-Diyun and 50-Miao Assembly Constituencies. Instead of conducting the hearing of claims and objections at Diyun, Mr Batt sat at Bordumsa, which is 60 kilometers away from Diyun. As there were no means of transportation between Bordumsa and Diyun, none out of 7,311 Chakma and Hajong claimants from Diyun Circle could appear for hearing. The hearings were re-held at Diyun only after the Election Commission intervened on complaints from the Committee for Citenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCHAP).

     

    Taking cognizance of these violations of its guidelines by the local electoral officials, the Election Commission of India deputed two teams to the four Chakma-Hajong inhabited Assembly Constituencies. But justice continues to elude the Chakma and Hajong citizens as the Election Commission has again failed them. In February 2008, the Election Commission ordered the publication of final rolls in three of the four Assembly Constituencies (14-Doimukh, 46-Chowkham, and 50-Miao). 49-Bordumsa-Diyun remained in abeyance until further orders. Out of about one thousand eligible voters, the names of only 201 claimants were included in the electoral rolls in 14-Doimukh while in 46-Chowkham, out of more than 1400 new claimants the names of only 14 were enrolled and names of 44 previously enrolled voters deleted. Similarly in 50-Miao, only 1 out of about 4500 new claimants was included in the electoral roll.

     

    The Election Commission of India assured the CCRCHAP that it would send 2 more teams to Itanagar to examine claimants documentation from 49-Bordumsa-Diyun. At the end of the year, the Election Commission of India had failed to enforce its guidelines.

     

    IV. Imminent displacement by development projects


    The state government of Arunachal Pradesh signed 39 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with both public and private sector developers to produce 24,471 MW as of September 2007. Some of the companies included National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), Reliance Energy, Jayprakash Associates and GMR Energy.[11] 

    Theses dams will reportedly cause displacement of large number of indigenous/tribal peoples apart from destroying the bio-diversity of the state. Environmental and social impact studies of these projects are reportedly inadequate. Officials argue that Arunachal Pradesh is sparsely populated and displacement will be minimal.

     

    The 2000 MW Subansiri Lower project in West Siang district is supposed to displace only 38 families from two villages. Yet the impact will be much greater as the project will adversely affect the natural resource base on which the people in the area depend for agriculture, fishing, and other goods and services.[12]

     

    In June 2007, the Guwahati High Court issued notices to the central government, the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Asom and seven other government organisations, asking them to respond to the allegations raised by the Environment Protection and Sustainable Society (EPSS), a non-governmental organization working on environmental issues. The EPSS moved the court to stop 13 proposed large dams in Arunachal Pradesh which pose a risk to the future of Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Asom.[13]  

     

    V. Violations of the prisoner’ rights

     

    The rights of the prisoners continued to be violated in Arunachal Pradesh. Undertrials were kept in police lock-ups for months until chargesheeted. The only jail with a capacity to house 100 inmates was completed a few years back. But it could not be made functional due to lack of able wardens as of 25 October 2007.[14]

     

     



    [1]. ULFA hideouts put Arunachal on edge, The Indian Express, 21 March 2007

    [2]. 2006-2007 Annual Report of MHA

    [3]. Politician-militant nexus behind AP ex-MP’s murder, The Sentinel, 27 December 2007

    [4]. HC issues notices to Centre, Arunachal & Asom Govt, The Sentinel, 8 June 2007

    [5]. Crime statistics of Arunachal Pradesh Police, available at: http://arunpol.gov.in/asp/crime_stats_app.asp

    [6] . Supreme Court of India, Court News- October – December 2007, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/CtNewsOct_Dec07.pdf

    [7]. Arunachal Minister alleges atrocities by Army, The Assam Tribune, 2 May 2007

    [8]. Top Arunachal cop arrested for rape, The Telegraph, 31 March 2007

    [9]. Molest glare on jawans, The Telegraph, 10 July 2007

    [10]. Atrocities spark protest, The Telegraph, 23 October 2007

    [11]. Massive dam plans for Arunachal , India Together, available at: http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/feb/env-arunachal.htm  

    [12]. Massive dam plans for Arunachal , India Together, available at: http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/feb/env-arunachal.htm  

    [13]. Legal challenge to dams in India , BBC News, 8 June 2007

    [14]. Arunachal’s first jail to be opened soon, The Assam Tribune, 26 October 2007

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