An event at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police headquarters in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kimin town on June 17 at which Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 12 border roads has sparked protests from the state’s residents. The reason? The social media handles of the Border Roads Organisation and some government agencies said that the venue at which the ceremony was held was in Assam.
The roads that Singh, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Khandu and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma travelled to the town in the Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh to e-inaugurate included the Kimin-Potin road connecting Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
While the event took place in Arunachal Pradesh, a press release of the Ministry of Defence said that the event had taken place in Assam’s Lakhimpur district.
The Twitter handle of the Defence Minister’s Office said that he was on a visit to Assam, though he did not say the ceremony had been held in that state.
The message of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Assam unit said that the dignitaries had “inaugurated the Kimin-Potin road and 11 other roads in Assam”.
Curiously, journalists reported that before the event, notice boards and signboards with the words “Arunachal Pradesh” had been pasted over.
The Border Roads Organisation told The Arunachal Times that it was acting based on “strategic reasons which were deliberated at the highest level”, though it refused to elaborate on the reasons.
Some Arunachal Pradesh residents took to Twitter express their displeasure.
The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and the All Kimin Youth Welfare Association held demonstrations outside the Border Roads Organisation office in Kimin, demanding a public apology.
Kiren Rijiju, an MP from Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, who was also present at the inauguration event, took to Facebook on Monday to say that the Border Roads Organisation, had committed a “grave mistake” by changing Kimin’s location to Assam.