2022- a year with a difference | Maj Khating merged Tawang with India: CM

By Pradeep Kumar

Days, weeks, months and years pass on as the clock continue to click, but year 2022 would remain memorable for turn of events that flashed back history to enlighten present generations.

As Indian and Chinese troops clashed on Dec 9 at strategically located Yangtse, barely 25-km aerial distance from Tawang, a contested LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Dec 16 blamed India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

“It was Sardar Patel’s idea to join Tawang with Arunachal Pradesh. The state had not got its name then and known as North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) with administration under Assam. The officials concerned were told to hoist national flag along Tawang border under 1949 Shimla agreement,” Khandu had said in a video tweet.

“Governor Jairamdas Daulatram tapped Major Ralengnao Bob Khating for the task, who took two months to do this. When Major Khating sent a message on his arrival, the governor further reached out to then PM (Nehru) because Sardar Patel had died then. But Nehru said: ‘What do we have to do by taking this place?’” Khandu said, adding: “But this could not be conveyed to Major Khating. So without any command he had hoisted the flag. These are chapters in history lost in time. Bob Khating is hailed as the man who brought Tawang under India’s control”, the CM added.

Maj Khathing, NEFA in-charge in 1950, had taken over Tawang region and Bum La area to formally incorporate with India. In 1972, he was appointed Indian Ambassador to Myanmar (then Burma), first tribal to rise to that rank, was honoured with Padma Shri.

Born in Ukhrul in 1912 and passed away at Mantripukhri in Manipur in 1990, he was also NEFA security commissioner during 1962 Sino-India War, served as Chief Civil Liaison Officer of IV Corps (Gajraj Corps) and instrumental in birth of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). Major Khathing was conferred with ‘Arunachal Ratna’ by CM Khandu posthumously on 14.02.21.

On Dec 18, about 5,000 villagers of Zemithang, last village along Sino-India border in Tawang district, had reposed full faith in the Centre and Indian Army for their ability to protect them.

On Dec 26: Army’s Eastern Command Gajraj Corps commander Lt Gen DS Rana unveiled a bust of Major Khathing at Yangste.

Boundary dispute: An agreement, Namsai Declaration, signed on July 15 gave a new direction to resolve decades-old boundary dispute between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam by reducing number of disputed villages from 123 to 86. It is a landmark to strengthen brotherhood, peace and prosperity in the North East, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said. This was outcome of repeated pleas by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to both state Gocvts to resolve their boundary disputes out of court to fulfill vision of PM Narendra Modi of a peaceful & prosperous NE.

Three rounds of regional committee-level meet besides several rounds of district committee-level meets were also held between both states this year.The first round of regional-level talks was held at Namsai, followed by second at Dibrugarh and third in Guwahati. Both tates share an 804.1-km-long border. After Arunachal Pradesh gained statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh.  Assam contested the recommendation and the matter is being heard by the Supreme Court.

Paper leak: The alleged Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) assistant engineer (civil) examination paper leak that rocked the state and came to light after a candidate filed a police complaint. More than 400 candidates had appeared for the examination held on August 26 and 27.

The state Govt in October handed over the case to CBI, which filed a charge sheet against 10 accused at Yupia district & sessions court in on December 8. The case was initially investigated by the Capital police and later transferred to the Special Investigation Cell (SIC) of the state police. Ten people, including APPSC deputy secretary-cum-deputy controller of examination, were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in the paper leak case.  APPSC chairman Nipo Nabam resigned on October 14 as a fall-out of the scandal.

The state Govt also ordered separate SIC probe of all exams conducted by the APPSC since 2014  and 34 people have arrested by the SIC.

The state Cabinet on December 22 gave its approval for a separate departmental enquiry into the APPSC paper leak case, which will be independent of ongoing investigations by the SIC and CBI.   It was also decided that the state government will urge the high court to designate a court exclusively for the matter.

Chopper crashes:   In recognition of the efforts of the whistle-blower who uncovered the paper leak, the cabinet resolved to frame rules for immediate implementation of The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, of 2014.

Six army personnel were killed in two different helicopter crashes.  Five Army personnel died near Migging village in Upper Siang district on October 21 while an Indian Army pilot lost his life when a Cheetah helicopter crashed near Tawang on October 5.

Initiatives: The state Govt launched three new verticals –   Aatmanirbhar Plantation, Aatmanirbhar Pasupalan and Aatmanirbhar Matsyapalan Yojanas – and allocated Rs 310 crore as front-end subsidy, which would benefit 15,000 farmers and 500 SHGs across the state.  We have adopted a five-pillar approach   Krishi, Bagwani, Plantation, Pashupalan and Matsyapalan  to realise the goal of Aatma Nirbhar Arunachal,  CM Khandu had said.

Militants of numbering over 200 of various outfits were arrested in anti-insurgency operations while five rebels were killed in a gun battle with security forces.

Flood and landslides also hit the state claiming at least 20 lives while over 200 houses were damaged and over one lakh affected by flood.

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