Authorities put over 100 people under preventive detention in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday as part of a 36-hour strike planned by the All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA). ANYA, the state’s largest tribal youth organization, organized the strike to demand the resignation of Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
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25 People Booked, Police Alleges “Deep Conspiracy”
Police arrested around 25 people under a strict state statute known as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which provides the authorities broad detention powers. They alleged the involvement of these individuals in calling the strike, declared illegal by the authorities. Police will hold those arrested in judicial detention for 12 days.
After the strike ended in the evening, police stated the presence of a “deep conspiracy” to destabilize the state’s BJP administration. According to police, this conspiracy is meant to create chaos in the state, create communal divides, and cause deaths.
ANYA Protest Plans and State Action
ANYA is the representative body of the Nyishi tribe, one of Arunachal’s main tribal groupings. The organization has accused CM Khandu of being involved in a 2,000 crore government funding scam.
According to police, detained individuals admitted to bringing in “weapons” to be used during the strike, such as catapults and indigenous daggers known as daos.
Furthermore, the local government had already shut down Internet services in Itanagar and surrounding regions on Wednesday to thwart protest plans. However, these services were restored after the strike ended.
The police reported arson at the Food and Civil Supplies Directorate headquarters on Papu Hill in Naharlagun as the lone unpleasant incident. This also resulted in the arrest of nine people, including eight minors.
Officials further claimed plots to strike critical government facilities and infrastructure. However, they refused to disclose the specifics of the targets.
As per Itanagar Capital Region Deputy Commissioner Talo Potom, the situation was peaceful. An Indian Express article noted his exact words to the press.
“There are no reports of any untoward incident. Most of the bandh callers were arrested and put under preventive detention. Those found directly involved were charged under Section 3 of the Arunachal Pradesh UAPA. They include leaders of the organization that called the bandh.”
Arrests and ANYA Responses
The police also arrested people not involved in the bandh. These people allegedly violated Section 144 of the IPC. However, they later received a release on personal bail bonds.
Despite police allegations, ANYA President Byabang Joram levelled claims of the officials maligning the body. He also gave an “ultimatum” to release the detained activists, alleging that the police had first attacked their vehicles. This is what he had to further add on the matter:
“We didn’t do anything wrong. We aren’t criminals. Our boys, who didn’t join the strike, were picked up from their homes, their house owners and relatives were arrested”.
The Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act
The Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act is an Indian law that aims to prevent illegal activities in India. Its principal goal was to give authorities the power to deal with acts that threatened India’s integrity and sovereignty.
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