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Explained: Outrage over showing of Kimin in Arunachal as ‘Bilgarh’ in Assam

ITANAGAR: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s inauguration of the twelve roads at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) headquarters in Kimin Arunachal has created a fresh boundary row between Assam and Arunachal, as Kimin town was shown as being a part of Assam instead of Arunachal by Border Roads Organization (BRO).

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the twelve roads in the presence of Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Kimin in Arunachal but in BRO press release, it was mentioned at Bilgarh Assam.

The Raksha Mantri office’s (RMO) official Twitter handle has explicitly mentioned Kimin as being in Assam.

Kimin is a border town of Arunachal and Assam but is administered by the government of Arunachal and its inhabitants are tribals of Arunachal Pradesh.

In its tweet, the RMO stated, “Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh at the inaugural ceremony of border road organization. The programme was held in Assam.”

It was informed that security arrangement for the defence minister was also entrusted to the Assam police for the event, even though it was organized in Kimin in Arunachal. A picture of the ITBP Kimin’s signboard, wherein Arunachal’s name has been covered with white paste, is doing the rounds.

In many places of Kimin Arunachal’s name covered with white paste has irked the police and the state government.

The state’s top police officers rushed to Kimin before the defence minister landed on 17 June to alert their Assam counterpart and the ITBP about the insensitivity.

It was also alleged that the mistake was made by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), giving wrong information about Kimin, which is an ADC headquarters in Papum Pare district.

However, when contacted, the BRO denied the allegation of feeding wrong information. A BRO official claimed that it was done due to “strategic reasons which were deliberated at the highest level.”

Angry with the Border Roads Organization (BRO) for showing Kimin ADC headquarters as ‘Billgarh’ in Assam during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s inauguration of the Kimin-Potin road on Friday, the All Kimin Youth Welfare Association (AKYWA) staged a protest against the BRO in Kimin on Saturday morning.

The AKYWA burned tyres outside the BRTF office in Kimin and demanding an explanation from the BRO over the covering up of Arunachal’s name with a white paste in pictures of the inaugural ceremony.

The BRO stated that it was done “because of strategic reasons,” apparently in order to forestall a reaction from China over the defence minister’s inauguration of the strategic road.

It was reported that Arunachal’s name was covered with white paste on all the signboards of the BRO and the ITBP.

The AKYWA termed the incident an insult to Arunachal as well as Kimin. The youths also demanded immediate shifting of the BRO/BRTF office from Kimin.

Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao on Sunday stated that the Border Roads Organization (BRO) officials responsible for showing Kimin ADC headquarters in Papum Pare district as ‘Bilgarh’ in Assam and covering up Arunachal’s name with a white paste during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s inauguration of the Kimin-Potin road should be booked under the appropriate section of the law.

Gao further stated that “whoever mischievously showed Kimin as being in Assam created boundary misunderstanding between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and also misguided the union defence minister.”

The MP strongly condemned the incident and expressed shock at “how the white paste episode unfolded in the presence of our own state’s top leaders at the function.”

He demanded that the BRO apologize to the people of Arunachal for such an insulting episode. Gao also said that the chief secretary should issue a clear statement on the whole episode.

Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh’s chief minister today talking to the media condemned the BRO for its move. Khandu said that though Arunachal Assam has a boundary issue in court this incident may ignite the sentiments of the local people of Kimin town and Arunachal as a whole.

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