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Arunachal CM Pema Khandu seeks discussion on issue of autonomous councils

Pema Khandu. - File Photo

Pema Khandu. - File Photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has broken his silence and sought a debate on the demand for two autonomous councils that has stirred a hornet’s nest.

He also denied any personal or hidden agenda in “raking up” the issues of Mon Autonomous Region (MAR) and Patkai Autonomous Council (PAC) amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

“As a Chief Minister of the State, I honour the demand placed by a demand committee for MAR. At the same time, I also respect the objections raised by the people,” he told journalists in State capital Itanagar on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister suggested a “proper proper discussion” with all stakeholders supporting and objecting to the creation of the autonomous councils toward finding a solution. Such discussions, he felt, would help amend the Arunachal Pradesh Statehood Act for ensuring “unity and integrity of the people”.

“The State government will soon initiate a discussion on the issue and the team which would include members of the Arunachal Indigenous Tribes’ Forum and other community-based organisations would be led by Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein,” he said.

“A panel of Ministers and senior advocates will also be a part of the discussion,” he added.

Mr. Khandu pointed out that the demands for the MAR and the PAC were almost two decades old and denied having attended a meeting of the MAR Demand Committee in his home district Tawang.

The MAR map comprises Tawang, West Kameng and parts of East Kameng districts while that of PAC includes Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts where various factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland are active.

“I had attended a programme organised by the Indian Army and some members of the MAR Demand Committee submitted a memorandum. This is what people usually do when a Chief Minister visits their areas or districts,” Mr. Khandu said.

Organisations such as the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and some tribe-based organisations have been opposing the renewed demands for the MAR and the PAC, which they said would trigger the disintegration of the State.

The 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly had in 2004 adopted a resolution for the creation of two autonomous councils.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 9:34:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-cm-pema-khandu-seeks-discussion-on-issue-of-autonomous-councils/article32283535.ece

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