While clashes broke out in some parts of Itanagar on Tuesday over a rally which another group was reportedly against, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin called upon people to resolve the issues through a peaceful dialogue.
Reports from Itanagar said at least 30 people were injured, and several vehicles and houses were damaged in stone-pelting by miscreants in some areas of the capital.
The day was also marked by a bandh called by one group, while another group is learnt to have blocked roads to Itanagar by felling trees and dumping boulders.
Itanagar has remained tense for the past two weeks over a series of demonstrations organised particularly by the All Nyishi Students’ Union (ANSU) and Nyishi Elite Society (NES) — both demanding resignation of Gamlin for his alleged failure to control the law and order situation in the state.
The two Nyishi organizations, ANSU and NES, accuse Gamlin of failing to take appropriate action against a New Delhi newspaper which had allegedly made some derogatory remarks against the Nyishi community. The ANSU and NES had also called Gamlin “anti-Nyishi” and asked all the 14 Nyishi legislators to dissociate from the government.
On Tuesday, trouble began when a newly floated organisation — Nyishi Coordination Committee (NCC) — called a rally against the resolutions of an earlier rally organised by ANSU and NES last Friday.
Reports also said that several vehicles, both private and government, were damaged when groups supporting and opposing the rally clashed. Police resorted to lathi-charge and lobbing of tear-gas shells to disperse people.
While security forces, including central para-military force, were deployed, a statement issued late in the night by Gamlin appealed to the people to remain calm. “We must collectively tackle these issues on the basis of dialogue and consensus. Violence has to be rejected at all costs. This is a sad moment for our state when our young people are embarked on a path of violence. We must look within ourselves to see what can be done to reverse this trend,” Gamlin said.
The state has been in the grip of a political crisis for some time with some Congress MLAs demanding a change in the leadership.