Monday, 30th October 2017

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Arunachal youth’s kin shun ex gratia

Tari was allegedly shot dead on February 22, Ruja and Wangdi lost their lives in protests near Khandu’s bungalow

By Damien Lepcha in Itanagar
  • Published 3.03.19, 12:48 AM
  • Updated 3.03.19, 2:35 AM
  • 2 mins read
A house set ablaze by protesters in Itanagar. The Telegraph file picture

The family of Risso Tari, the first to be killed in the recent anti-Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) agitation here, has refused to accept the ex gratia announced by the Arunachal Pradesh government and has, instead, demanded that those responsible for the “murder” be produced before them within a week.

The family members have placed this demand in front of the state government and the unions responsible for the 48-hour bandh call against PRC.

Tari, 22, a native of Laying village in Kurung Kumey district, was among the three who died in police firing last week. The other two victims of the agitation were Biki Ruja, 20, a fourth semester student of Dera Natung Government College, Itanagar and 24-year-old Tsering Wangdi.

While Tari was allegedly shot dead on February 22, Ruja and Wangdi lost their lives in protests near chief minister Pema Khandu’s private bungalow on February 24.

Following the deaths, Khandu on Monday announced ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh for the families of those who succumbed to their injuries during the protests in the capital complex, along with the assurance of providing government jobs to the next of kin of the deceased.

The chief minister had also announced ex gratia of upto Rs 10 lakh for those who were injured in the clashes that took place between February 21 and 26.

Addressing a news conference at the Press Club here, Riso Kiagung, the elder brother of Risso Tari, said the latter’s death was not an accident and instead “a pre-determined and intentional cold blooded murder” executed by the security personnel on duty.

“There is no law in the country that says that the police personnel can shoot to kill protesters during democratic movements. There are many other mechanisms that the police can follow to disperse or neutralize the crowd. It seems the district administration and the police wilfully did not opt of such methods during the recent agitations,” Kiagung said.

He also said the family members of Tari have never demanded compensation from the government or placed any other demands.

“We will not accept the compensation as we never asked for it. How long would the government announce ex gratia for precious lives which are lost during such democratic movements?” Kiagung said. He demanded that the government name the person who ordered the firing.

“The state’s home minister has recently stated that he was unaware of the firing orders and of any additional requisition of forces during the stage PRC movement. If he did not give the orders to fire, then who did it,” Kiagung asked.

Contradicting Khandu’s claim of being in constant touch with the family members of the deceased, Kiagung said that no one from the government has even paid a “courtesy visit” till date.

Terming Tari a martyr who had sacrificed his life for the state and its indigenous people, the family members appealed to all to refrain from politicising the issue.

Family members of Risso Tari at the news conference.
Family members of Risso Tari at the news conference. Damien Lepcha