Five theatres that actor Satish Kaushik is associated with were burnt in the protests that rocked Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar on Friday night against the government move to grant permanent residency certificates (PRCs) to certain categories of people.
“I am associated with five theatres named Picture Time. I am a promoter. I got a call this (Saturday) morning from the owner, Sushil Choudhary, that our five theatres were burnt,” Satish told IANS on the phone while being evacuated to Guwahati along with 50 other delegates to the first Itanagar International Film Festival, which was cancelled after the violence erupted.
“I reached yesterday (Friday) and went to the hotel. I was supposed to get ready for the evening function… But they (organisers) said ‘hold on’ there is some problem … The event could not take place due to protests. The protesters were on a rampage and pelting stones. We couldn’t make it to the convention centre.
“There was a fire. We got stuck. We thought we’d leave in the morning but we got stuck. We crossed the border with the help of an IAS officer. He sent people and about 10-12 vehicles for us. Then we crossed the (Arunachal Pradesh) border,” Kaushik Satish added.
The widespread violence, which had been going on for three days, led the Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday to freeze its decision on the controversial permanent residence certificate (PRC). The violent protests, which also saw the torching of the Deputy Chief Minister’s house, made the government declare that it will not implement the report granting PRC to six communities living along the Assam-Arunachal border.
Four Army columns were deployed in the capital while authorities suspended Internet services across the state to avoid the spread of fake news. The protests had been called on Friday evening by 18 student and civil society groups. The mob alleged that a committee led by Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia had submitted its report on PRC without proper verification of facts.
The indigenous communities in Arunachal Pradesh believe that they will suffer if the PRC is extended to other communities.