Arunachal Pradesh is known as the Land of Rising Sun but recently it seems to be turning into the Land of Rising Corruption with firing and violent protests as scars on its scenic beauty.
On Monday, major protests against the arrest of a secretary of an Monpa Community organisation in the town of Tawang left two persons dead and more than two dozen injured.
Lama Lobsang Gyatso is the Secretary of Save Mon Region Federation (SMRF0), an organisation of the Monpa community in the Mon-Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh spear-headed by Buddhist Lamas.
The group has been advocating socio-culturally and ecologically sensitive development in the Mon-Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh. This has included protesting against ecologically destructive hydropower projects, demanding accountability in execution government schemes and development projects, as well as exposing corruption.
The National Green Tribunal had recently, on April 7th, 2016 suspended the environmental clearance of the 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu project in response to an Appeal filed by the Save Mon Region Federation.
The Tribunal had asked for a fresh impact assessment studies, public hearing for local people and appraisal by the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley & Hydroelectric projects and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
A major issue was the impact on the wintering habitat of the black-necked crane, a vulnerable bird considered sacred by the Buddhist Monpa community, considered an embodiment of the 6th Dalai Lama who was from Tawang and wrote about the bird in his poetry.
Lobsang Gyatso and SMRF have been supporting villagers in recording their objections against other destructive hydropower projects in Tawang too.
On April 26th Lama Lobsang Gyatso was first arrested for allegedly leading a group of people from Gongkhar village where the 6 MW Mukto Shakangchu project is coming up. SMRF is opposed to the reconstruction of spillway of the small project as they say that work quality has been compromised with prevalent corruption in the region and services.
He was arrested based after an FIR filed by the Personel security officer of local MLA Pema Khandu for disrupting peace but was soon left on bail.
Again on April 28th, Lobsang Gyatso was arrested for his alleged critical comments against Guru Rinpoche, the Abbot of Tawang Monastery.
The locals and his empathisers had gathered to demand the release of Gyatso when the police opened fired flouting its basic rule book of using tear gas shells or water cannons.
Tension still prevails in the state raising the question of corruption in the land of rising sun.