GUWAHATI: The issue involving the alleged attempt to “cede” Arunachal Pradesh town Kimin to Assam is getting murkier as four opposition parties in the Himalayan state have now lodged an FIR against Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
Allegedly, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had covered up “Kimin” and “Arunachal” on signboards and foundation stones with white paste when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited Kimin on June 17 to inaugurate 12 strategic roads built by the BRO.
In the FIR lodged jointly with Kimin police station, People’s Party of Arunachal, Janata Dal (United), Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress alleged Khandu and Rijiju had connived with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to cede Kimin to Assam and consented by the defence ministry in violation of the Arunachal Pradesh Statehood Act, 1987.
Alleging that Kimin, which is under the revenue jurisdiction of Arunachal’s Papum Pare district, was misrepresented, they charged Khandu and Rijiju with grossly abusing their official authority and power, undermining the interest and the integrity of the state and its people.
Further, they accused the duo of compromising Arunachal’s territorial status by attempting to distort the Assam-Arunachal boundary dispute. Khandu and Rijiju, as well as the Assam CM, were with the Defence Minister on that day.
After e-dedicating the roads, Singh had tweeted about attending the programme in the “North East” and shared a statement of his ministry that suggested the event was held in the Lakhimpur district of Assam.
Groups and organisations in Arunachal said the Defence Minister was misguided by the BRO on the venue of the event. The controversy has refused to die down despite an apology tendered by the BRO.
“The error was unintentional. The BRO never intended to hurt the sentiments of loving brothers and sisters of Arunachal Pradesh.,” BRO Additional Director General (East) PKH Singh had said recently.
Arunachal and Assam have been locked in a bitter border row for decades together.