Arunachal Pradesh started the new year on a bad note with protests against the state government’s proposal to issue permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six communities in the state turning violent earlier this year; leading to the death two people in alleged firing by the security forces to control angry protestors. An indefinite curfew was imposed in some parts of the state after stone-pelting by mobs injured dozens of people, including police personnel; the army, who were deployed in hundreds, carried out flag marches; and internet services were suspended in an attempt to defuse tensions in the state. Bu it took some time for normalcy to return. Violence returned to the state in the weeks leading up to the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, which were held concurrently in the first phase, on April 12. Unidentified miscreants attacked two National People’s Party (NPP) workers on March 29, and one of them succumbed to his injuries. The Election Commission ordered re-polling in 18 polling stations for both the Lok Sabha and assembly seats following allegations of violence and booth capturing. More violence marred the elections in the state as a gaon burah (GB) was murdered in an alleged poll-related incident ahead of re-polling on April 20 and 27. Then re-polling was conducted yet again in two booths (Nampe in Koloriang constituency and Gimba in Tali constituency) on May 21, two days after the general elections concluded, following complaints of electoral malpractices. Just when people were hoping that peace would return to the state, a horrifying incident took place on Tuesday where Tirong Aboh, a sitting NPP MLA who was seeking re-election from Khonsa West Assembly constituency, and 10 others, including his son, were shot dead by unidentified militants, shocking not only the neighbouring states in Northeast but also the entire country.
A series of violent events that hit Arunachal Pradesh in the last few months has disturbed peace and tranquillity in Northeast. The region, which is home to dozens of underground outfits, is no stranger to bloodshed, especially during election time with repeated electoral violence creating fear psychosis among the voters, but this year’s polling was conducted in a relatively peaceful manner in most states. The people of the region should ensure violent-free, and free and fair election in the years to come. It is important to participate in election, the biggest festival of democracy, in the right spirit by upholding one’s political rights while respecting the same privilege that others have; and there should not be coercion of any kind, forget about violence. There is place for dissent in a civilised society and trying to silence an opponent through violent means is a direct attack on democratic values. Winning and losing is part of the political game. So, those who cannot handle victory with humility and accept defeat gracefully should not join it for the good of humanity. This is the simple rule of the game called “politics.”