Itanagar Bandh, mobile internet shutdown cripples normal life

Normal life was disrupted in the capital complex of Itanagar on January 13 due to a 36-hour phone call on the capital by the All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA) demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, accusing him of engaging in corruption.

As mobile internet services remained suspended for the past 24 hours, the normal functioning of local media outlets, including All India Radio’s regional news unit, Itanagar, has been affected, informed sources said.

The bandh which started at 5am on January 13 has been peaceful so far, with no untoward incidents reported in any part of the capital region, police said.

“The general public order situation in the capital is peaceful so far. No untoward incidents have been reported. We are on the ground and preparing for the night,” said Jimmy Chiram, Superintendent of the Itanagar Capital Complex police.

The SP said more than 30 people were arrested as a preventive measure.

Earlier, he said, “Heavy security has been deployed to vital facilities in the Itanagar capital region. Senior police and civil administration officials are on the ground to monitor the situation.

Shops, markets and other commercial establishments shuttered in response to ANYA’s call for the group. With schools already closed due to COVID-19 restrictions from January 12, post offices and banking establishments remained closed during the day.

All types of vehicle traffic, except those with police and magistrates on duty, were off the roads, giving the capital’s streets a deserted look.

Before the start of the bandh, the government of Arunachal Pradesh had ordered the temporary suspension of mobile internet services for 48 hours, starting at 5 p.m. on January 12, as a precautionary measure.

Refuting ANYA’s allegation against the CM, Interior Minister and government spokesman Bamang Felix called it “vague and baseless”.

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