MAR demand gets momentum

TAWANG, July 29: The demand for creation for Mon Autonomous Region (MAR) reverberated again during meeting of Mon Autonomous Region Demand Committee (MARDC) at Zomkhang Hall Hall here on Wednesday under the aegis of Monpa Mimang Tsogpa (MMT).

Lumla lawmaker Jambey Tashi, in his key note address, highlighting all events chronologically since 2003 when the demand surfaced, said that in 2013 then chief minister Nabam Tuki and Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy had assured MAR creation, according to a MMT release.

Eminent personalities of Tawang and West Kameng districts during deliberations raised various issues and stressed the urgency for its creation as well as strongly resented inordinate delay of the Govt in fulfilling the demand.  The meeting also decided to pursue the state and central Govts and hold tripartite talks of the MARDC with both Govts to achieve the goal soon. Various committees in both districts would be revived to start various activities as decided in a time bound manner.

A memorandum urging the GoAP to take up the long pending demand was later presented to Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

It may be recalled here that State Legislative Assembly had adopted a resolution for creation Autonomous District Council of Tawang and West Kameng alongwith Autonomous District Council of Tirap and Changlang in 16.02.04 and forwarded to the Centre. The demand is still pending despite series of follow up actions.

MLA, students union representatives, religious leaders, senior officers and eminent personalities of both districts attended the meeting observing COVID-19 SOPs, which begun with address of MMT president Rinchin Dorjee.

Pradeep Kumar adds: Addressing huge gathering at Tawang on 20.10.13, then CM Nabam Tuki had announced his support for MAC and assuring to move the GoI, besides advocating a special package for Tawang considering its peculiar condition as different district has different potentials.

On 25.11.13: “Jaan bhi denge, khoon bhi denge Mon Autonomous Council ke liye jaan bhi denge; milna hai, milna hai, Mon Autonomous Council jaldi milna hai; Bharat sarkar jaag jaoo hamari mang puri karo” (We sacrifice life and blood for Mon Autonomous Council; Mon Autonomous Council should be granted immediately; Wake up Govt of India, meet our demand) slogans rent the air of this sleepy town in Arunachal Pradesh along Indo-china border as about 20,000 people marched in a massive rally from Tawang Monastery to the general ground here in support of their unanimous demand.

Holding banners with inscriptions, the gathering included  MARDC chairman Rev TG Rinpoche, Tourism & WRD Minister Pema Khandu, Parliamentary Secretaries Jamey Tashi (Civil Aviation) and Tsewang Dhondup (Art & Culture),  Tawang MLA Tashi Khandu, former ministers Karma Wangchu and Thupten Tempa walked the four-km long road hand in hand as slogans constantly echoed the atmosphere while life in the township came to a standstill.

“The demand within the Constitution of India for self-rule by the people with a provision to protect own culture and identity is the outcome of a unanimous resolution adopted by the people on October 2 last, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi,” the Rinpoche said in his address to the gathering.

“He who cannot protect his identity and culture is unfit to be a human being,” Rev Rinpoche said, adding “We all would follow the Gandhian principle of non-violence without compromising with our demand and continue our struggle till the demand is met,” to the thunderous applause of the gathering.

“It is time to assert our right as the state government is with us after the state assembly adopted a unanimous resolution demanding Mon Autonomous District Council (ADC) for Tawang and West Kameng districts and Patkai ADC for Tirap and Changlang district (Longding included) and pending in the Centre’s court on September 23 last for the third time after 2004 and 2007,” Rev Rinpoche added.

The people have decided to donate their one-month’s earning for the cause. But if the demand is not met on time, Delhi Chalo movement would be launched followed by mass resignation of elected leaders, the Rinpoche added.

CM Tuki had informed the house that the state is under 6th Schedule of the Constitution and Panchayati Raj is effective as per 73rd Amendment Act. Pointing out that brining the state under the required provision is the prerogative of the Centre, he assured to pursue the matter.

Notably, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura states are under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution with scheduled area provision for creation of ADC where as Arunachal Pradesh has not been given that constitutional benefit within the 6th Schedule, according to constitutional expert. Moreover, Article 244A has a provision for creation of an autonomous state within the state of Assam. The same Article resulted in creation of Chandigarh and Pudduchery, the expert said, adding Constitution amendment is the only solution.

“When I informed over telephone now, the CM and Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy assured that they would meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the memorandum in December next,” Pema Khandu said in his address to the standing ovation of the gathering.

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