The influential All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) will launch a state-wide sit-in protest on January 28 against China establishing a ‘village’ in the Upper Subansiri district, according to local media. Beijing claims the village is part of its “national poverty alleviation program”.
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The people in India’s northeastern state are furious over Beijing’s move to build houses in what they call “their territory”. AAPSU said the sit-in protest will commence from 9.30 am to condemn the nefarious, expansionist and provocative intent of the Chinese government.
“We have directed all the units, District Students’ Union (DSUs) and branch students’ unions to organize similar sit-in protests in respective district headquarters,” AAPSU deputy spokesperson Nepha Wangsa was quoted as saying by Eastern Sentinel.
The development assumes significance given that Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh since May 2020.
According to reports, China claims the village in Upper Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh is part of its plan to build 624 villages in the Tibet region. Beijing does not recognize Arunachal Pradesh and considers it as Southern Tibet.
A source close to the People’s Liberation Army has told South China Morning Post that the construction of houses in the village, built as part of the poverty alleviation program, was undertaken using the new roads built for the military.
It was a “good opportunity to build houses for local Tibetans using poverty relief money,” the source said. The satellite images shared by an Indian news channel showed the construction of 101 houses along the Tsari Chu River.
Some ground images of the village from @VishnuNDTV's story today pic.twitter.com/e5u06UZMFr
— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) January 18, 2021
As per reports, China has plans to spend 21 billion yuan on Tibet border villages to ensure stability in the region. The Chinese state media had reported in 2019, the settlements will involve 61,598 households and more than 240,000 people. Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced in 2014:
“To govern the country well we must first govern the frontiers well, and to govern the frontiers well, we must first ensure stability in Tibet.” Xi’s goal is to build a “moderately well off society” by 2021.
On the reports of the village being constructed on the Indian side, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that all construction activity had taken place within China’s territory.
India has not denied the development and said they are aware of the matter and China has undertaken such construction along the border in the past as well.
“We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along with the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years,” the External Affairs Ministry statement said.
India has also ramped up border infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh, including roads and bridges, to improve the lives of the people of the state, the ministry statement had said.
Youth in Arunachal Pradesh’s Daporijo, Upper Subansiri District held a protest against China. Protest against settlement of concrete houses inside border area near Maja of Limeking Taksing circle of Upper Subansiri District Arunachal Pradesh in India🇮🇳. Xi Jinping effigy burned. pic.twitter.com/AMVhLWjF04
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) January 21, 2021
Arunachal Furious Over Chinese Move
The people in the Upper Subansiri district were up in arms against the Chinese move to set up a village in “their territory”. On January 22, residents took out a march, carrying placards and burning effigies of Chinese President Xi Jinping even as they raised various pro-India, anti-China slogans, NDTV reported.
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A day later, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest. “We strongly condemn such acts of China and want to send a strong message to Beijing that we are Indian and shall remain Indian,” BJP spokesperson Techi Necha told reporters.
Earlier, BJP lawmaker Tapir Gao claimed China had entered 60-70km into India.
Arunachal Pradesh Governor B.D. Mishra has requested the Centre to initiate measures for the development of infrastructure along the India-China border in the state. He has urged to allocate funds for the construction of bridges at remote places to improve the mobility of Army jawans and civilians.