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Arunachal students’ body calls for draft Bill to safeguard indigenous communities

Pressure mounts on State govt. as women’s panel submits summary of proposed inheritance Bill

A proposed Bill seeking equal rights to property for women in Arunachal Pradesh has refreshed the demand for a policy to safeguard the indigenous communities from children of non-locals “fraudulently availing rights” in the name of the State’s Scheduled Tribes.

The Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women on August 23 said it had submitted a draft proposal for the Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021.

“We have received memorandums from various organisations to scrap two sections of the draft proposal. It is now up to the State government to take a call,” the panel said in a statement. The clauses pertain to the movable and immovable property enjoyed by an Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) woman married to a non-APST man.

While pressure mounted on the panel to remove the two clauses, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) resented the “inordinate delay” by the government in publishing the draft proposal relating to the existing system of issuing APST certificates to the offspring of non-APST men and APST women.

The draft on the offspring issue was to have been published 18 months ago.

The AAPSU and other tribe-based students’ bodies met Alo Libang, the State’s Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Tribal Affairs, and demanded the early tabling of the Bill in the 60-member Assembly.

“The lack of any functioning law to check the offspring of tribal women married to non-APST men fraudulently availing rights in the name of APST poses a great threat to tribal society and the union will not tolerate a further delay,” AAPSU president Hawa Bagang said.

The first meeting of a high-power committee set up for the issue was held in February 2020.

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