GUWAHATI: BJP-led government in Arunachal Pradesh wants the state to be placed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. A resolution to this effect is likely to be tabled in the state assembly on Thursday. The Sixth Schedule, besides giving considerable autonomy to the tribal community, empowers the state to enact laws for land protection. The Arunachal Cabinet had recently resolved to move the Centre to bring the frontier state under the purview of the Sixth Schedule.
Arunachal home minister Bamang Felix told ET: “The decision to make the appeal was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister (Pema Khandu). We will table a resolution in the assembly on Thursday and accordingly the same will be forwarded to the Centre.”
He said: “After intense discussion with civil society groups and student bodies it was found necessary that for the protection of the religious and social practices and customary law and procedure of the tribes of the state, the Sixth Schedule is necessary.”
Even the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) exempts the Sixth Schedule areas and the Inner Line permit areas. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur are under ILP, while there are 10 areas under the Sixth Schedule in Northeast India.
The state had earlier constituted a consultative committee to recommend measures to protect the rights of indigenous people. The committee was headed by deputy CM Chowna Mein and seven other cabinet ministers.
Felix said the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873 prohibits all citizens of India from entering Arunachal without a valid ILP. “Arunachal comes under Article 371(H) of the Constitution, which does not provide full protection to the state’s people, for under the said article, there is no special provision. We may have our land, air and water but we do not have its ownership,” he said.
Article 371 (H) provides that the Arunachal governor will have special responsibility with respect to law and order in the state. Meanwhile, the state has decided to allow the resumption of renewal of existing ILP and issuance of temporary ILP from September 1.