By: Ami Natung
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Permanent Residential certificate (PRC) is a government issued certificate mainly used for the purpose of admission to educational institutions.
The certificate proves the residence of an applicant which enables him or her to obtain certain quota during admission the certificate may also be required for application to certain job opportunities.
To begin with, no organization such as all Arunachal student union and any other tribe-based student union took an active role in the PRC issue mainly because those student leaders are mainly bootlickers of the BJP or of any other party which is in power.
These student union leaders only perform the work that particular MLAs assign to them in exchange for money or funding, etc.
During these harsh and fragile times, these so-called student leaders were nowhere to be found. Infact, one of the student leaders even stated that they have no problem in granting PRC to Non-APSTs.
This issue would not have caused such violence and deaths if there were any leaders to guide the youths of Arunachal Pradesh in the right direction.
The public and the youth took the matters into their own hands because a majority of the youth population was against passage of the PRC bill.
As there was no one to guide them, the peaceful protest took an ugly turn. It all started when they were silently or peacefully protesting outside the Arunachal public Office (APO), and all of a sudden, they heard a gun-shot being fired at them. Many people were injured and several succumbed to their wounds.
The main bone of contention lies in the fact that although many of these communities have been living in Arunachal Pradesh since many years, they don’t have the official land rights either and for which they are regarded as non-tribal in Arunachal while their counterparts in Assam enjoy PRC and land rights.
The main concern of the Tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh is that giving PRCs to the non- tribal communities (not one but six communities) will lead to them obtaining Inner Line Permit before entering Arunachal Pradesh.
The APSTs believe that giving PRC will lead to easy-flow of non-tribals into the tribal land and will affect the culture of the state in the long-run.
Granting PRC to the non-APSTs will enable them to buy land in Arunachal which is again a sign of danger for the Indigenous people of Arunachal because they are in smaller numbers compared to the non-APSTs and would suffer the same fate as Tripura.
It is to be added that before the PRC issue, the supreme court had already granted the Chakma-Hajong community the PRC and now they are the second largest community.
Arunachal Pradesh is a protected land with a purpose to safeguard the indigenous tribe and culture, but if the PRC is granted to non-APSTs, how will be they able to protect the indigenous people from disappearing?
I firmly believe that granting PRC to non–APSTs means that indigenous people will lose their rights and identities.