ITANAGAR, Nov 26: A leading human rights NGO of the State, the Arunachal Citizens’ Right (ACR) has rued that the pressing need for infrastructure development vis-à-vis the basic minimum services for the State has been put on the backburner for more than four decades owing to Government putting a premium on national security over development of the State.
Attending the two-day seminar on Tribal Unrest in India and Empowerment for Self Rule at the International Youth Hostel at New Delhi yesterday, ACR Chairperson Bamang Tago said that road communication in the border State has been left untouched for decades depriving the citizens of basic amenities like health, education and information.
“Till the 80s, even construction of mule and porter tracts had to be cleared by the Ministry of Defence,” he informed.
While appreciating the recent ‘change of attitude’ from the Centre towards infrastructure development of the State, Tago, however, lamented that the so-called new jest for accelerating the pace of development of the North-east displayed by the Government was attributable solely to the country’s geo-political strategic compulsions. This is amply borne by the fact that these projects were being implemented without involving communities and stakeholders in the decision-making and planning processes, and thrusting the projects on them.
Citing that China’s repeated claims over Arunachal has created a fear psychosis in the minds of Arunachalees living in the border areas, Tago expressed deep distress that Arunachal was being made a pawn in the power struggle between the two Asian giants.
“The fact is that whether it is the Chinese or any other, tribal rights on land, river, forest and mountains are defined in the tribal mythology, traditional convention and migratory history. Hence, the question of having boundary disputes doesn’t arise at all in Arunachal,” he asserted.
During the two-day discourse, the seminar identified dispossession of life supporting resources including land, forest, water and culture in the name of ‘public interest’ and aggressive national development policies in the form of mining, industry, power plants, big-dams, wildlife sanctuaries and military installations threatening the very survival of the indigenous and tribal people. It pointed these as the main issues leading to internal colonialism by dominant society over the tribals.
The seminar, which concluded last evening, was organized by the Dimasa Peoples Council and All Dimasa Students Union, in collaboration with the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal People, with an intent to understand the root-causes of the tribal unrest in India and more particularly in the North-east states. Various issues were discussed during the two days to promote solidarity among different groups, social activists, students, scholars, academicians and political leaders locally, regionally, nationally and internationally in the matters that effect them directly or indirectly with the sole objective of improving the quality life of the indigenous and tribal people of the country. More then 300 tribal community leaders from across the country participated in the seminar. THE SENTINEL