Conditions in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital city Itanagar have come to halt since a 36-hour bandh took place after the All Nishi Youth Association (ANYA) demanded the resignation of state chief minister Pema Khandu, as the association has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and his family of siphoning off funds worth crores from government schemes.
About the shutdown in Arunachal Pradesh:
According to a report by the Arunachal Times, as many as 36 protesters were detained by the local administration till January 13. Twenty-nine of them have been sent to jail for 12 days. Two persons have been released.
The report also said that while no major incidents have been reported so far, the capital region “was totally shut, except for the hospitals and a few pharmacies. Vehicles were off the road, barring a few private vehicles, and shops and government institutions remained closed.”
The Student’s Body on December 10, had submitted a memorandum to the BJP government seeking a clarification on allegations of misappropriation of funds in government schemes including those on hydro power by the chief minister and his family within 15 days. It told local reporters that it would otherwise start a ‘democratic movement’ demanding Khandu’s resignation.
While speaking to the media, the ANYA President Byabang Joram asserted that “despite repeated ultimatums given to the state government for clarifying the allegations against Chief Minister Pema Khandu, he has failed to respond to our demands.”
He added, “ANYA is willing to call-off the proposed bandh call if the state government addresses its demands before the day of the bandh call, said Joram. If any unfortunate violence occurs during the bandh call the government shall be responsible for it.”
Press meet in Itanagar in regards of the resignation:
Earlier, the state’s regional political entity, the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), had also held a press meet in Itanagar, making similar allegations against the chief minister and his relatives. On October 16, PPA general secretary Kaling Jerang told reporters that the “growing number of legal notices being served to the state government regarding crucial issues like misappropriation of Panchayati Raj, CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) and Covid-19 funds need a systematic judicial inquiry.”
The student body demanded Khandu’s resignation within seven days on December 30, as the state government didn’t respond to the ANYA’s memorandum. Later, on January 10, ANYA president Byabang Joram told press persons that it had no option but to call for the bandh demanding his resignation. Joram had also stated then that the student organisation would call off the bandh if the state government offered a clarification on the matter.
On December 10, 2021, ANYA had alleged a series of corruption charges against CM Khandu and accordingly served the state government a 15-days ultimatum and another 7-days ultimatum on December 30 last demanding resignation of the CM.
Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister claims corruption allegations as “Vague & Baseless”:
On January 11, the Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Bamang Felix claimed that the All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA)’s allegations against Chief Minister Pema Khandu as “vague & baseless”, and urged the association to call-off the 36-hours shutdown in Itanagar Capital Region (ICR), slated to be held from January 13.
The Home Minister said, “We appeal to the ANYA team to call off the bandh and come forward for talks. The state government is always ready to accommodate them for a healthy discussion and sort out the issues through dialogue.”
However, the shutdown in the state took place as the state government failed to issue any clarification on the allegation made by the youth body on the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu with corruption and malpractices charges, and thereby sought his resignation.