The family of one of the three men killed during mob violence in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar last month has declined the compensation offered by the State government and demanded punishment of the “killers” according to tribal customary law.
A 48-hour shutdown against the government’s move to grant permanent resident certificates to six non-tribal groups had taken an ugly turn on February 22. Risso Tari, 22, was killed that day while Biji Ruja, 20, and Tsering Wangdi, 34, were killed in police firing near Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s private residence on February 24.
Mr. Khandu later announced compensation of ₹20 lakh and a government job for the next of kin of each of the deceased and up to ₹10 lakh for the injured. “My brother Tari’s death was cold-blooded murder by the security personnel since Home Minister Kumar Waii said he did not order the security forces to open fire. Instead of money and job, we want his murderers to be handed over to us for trial under Nyishi [tribe] customary law,” Risso Kiagung told newspersons in Itanagar on Saturday.
Call for compensation
Customary laws, often in conflict with the judicial system, prescribe punishments according to the degree of seriousness of a crime. They range from caging a culprit and pouring itching powder on him to death by lynching.
Mr. Risso also sought action against the organisations that called the “illegal” shutdown that led to the death of his brother and two others.
The Khandu government, meanwhile, has been flooded with demand for compensation from shops and business establishments that were razed or plundered by mobs during the violent agitation. Assam and Nagaland-based musicians and suppliers of equipment for the vandalised Itanagar International Film Festival have sought compensation for their losses, too. “People of the city and the agitators looted almost everything we had on display. If we don’t get compensation for the goods stolen and property damaged, we might have to shut down,” the local manager of a shopping mall chain said. The affected malls have assured to pay their employees for at least two months, by which time they expect a compensation package for rebuilding. “We are staring at job cuts for at least 200 local youth,” he said.