More than a hundred people were put under preventive detention in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday over a strike called by a tribal youth group to press for the resignation of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, The Indian Express reported.
The All Nyishi Youth Association, which represents the Nyishi tribe, has accused the chief minister of indulging in large-scale corruption. Khandu had dismissed the allegations as “politically motivated” and asked the association to move court if it had any evidence.
At least 25 members of the group, who allegedly organised the strike, were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, according to The Indian Express. They were sent to judicial custody for 12 days.
Itanagar Capital Region Deputy Commissioner Talo Potom told the newspaper that the situation in the state was peaceful.
“There are no reports of any untoward incident,” he said. “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 organisation that called the bandh.”
At a press conference in the Itanagar city, Inspector General (law and order) Chukhu Apa accused the organisers of the strike of hiring “anti-social elements” from outside the state to create law and order problems.
He added that the police had recovered Rs 3 lakh of the Rs 10 lakh “given to bandh callers by their handlers”.
The All Nyishi Youth Association President, Byabang Joram, denied the allegations. He said that the police were trying to malign the organisation.
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” Joram added. “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.”
On December 10, the All Nyishi Youth Association had alleged that there were several corruption charges against the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister. It had submitted a representation to the state government, seeking clarification on the claims and had given a 15-day ultimatum to respond.
On December 30, the organisation demanded that Khandu should resign within seven days, pointing out that the government had failed to issue any clarification on the allegations.
On Monday, the association’s president Joram had said that it was left with no choice but to launch a “democratic movement of 36 hours bandh”.
The administration in Itanagar, however, declared the strike as illegal. The district magistrate had also suspended internet services for 48 hours since Wednesday evening.