ITANAGAR, Dec 24 � The year 2011 was a year of loss for the people of Arunachal Pradesh as they lost their Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in one of the two major helicopter crashes while political upheavals and the stapled visa issue with China also kept the State in the news.
The year saw installation of two new Chief Ministers after over four months of internal strife among the members of the ruling Congress.
In one of the greatest tragedies the State witnessed in the past decades, popular Chief Minister Khandu was killed in the crash at Lobothang near Tawang, bordering China. The Eurocopter B3 craft ran by Pawan Hans Helicopter Services Limited, carrying him and four others went missing on April 30 shortly after take-off from Tawang.
After four days of massive search, the wreckage of the chopper along with five bodies were found at Lobothang. Khandu (56), who had served in the intelligence wing of the Army, was the fifth Chief Minister of the State.
Earlier on April 19, a Pawan Hans Mi-17 chopper crashed while landing at Tawang helipad, killing 17 people including three crew members while a pilot and five others survived with burn injuries.
At least 15 people died in a bridge collapse at Seppa in East Kameng district on October 29 when they were on a hunting spree to catch an insect locally known as Tari, a tribal delicacy.
Political upheavals started immediately after the death of Khandu with two contenders for the coveted post. Immediately after Jarbom Gamlin was sworn in as Chief Minister on May 5, the State witnessed a tense situation following a derogatory report published in two national dailies against the Nyishis.
Various Nyishi organisations led by Nyishi Elite Society and All Nyishi Students� Union waged a war against the publication and demanded the State Government pursue the case for a logical solution.
Aggrieved over the lackadaisical attitude of the Gamlin- led Government, the organisations launched a series of bandh calls and rallies on the issue which even claimed a life on October 11. Offices of the PTI and a local daily were vandalised by unknown people.
Dissident activities within the Congress started from the very first day after Gamlin took over. Majority of the Congress legislators led by dissident leader Nabam Tuki went to New Delhi, placing a demand for replacement of Gamlin.
Constant pressure from the Congress legislators followed by volatile mass movements by Nyishi organisations including torching of several vehicles and vandalisation of public property over the issue, the party high command was compelled to think of an alternative which led to the installation of Tuki as the seventh Chief Minister on November 1.
The oft-repeated claim of China over Arunachal territory resurfaced during the year when two Arunachalee sportsmen were prevented by immigration officials from boarding a flight to Beijing on January 12 as they had stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy on their passports.
Indian Weightlifting Federation�s joint secretary Abraham K Techi and lifter Yukar Sibi were to visit the country at the invitation of Chinese Weightlifting Association president Menguang for the January 15-17 China weightlifting Grand Prix at Fujian province.
The denial of formal visas to the sportsmen sparked off strong protests All Arunachal Pradesh Students� Union burning effigies of Chinese Premier Hu Jiantao on several occasions. The students� body also banned sale of all Chinese products in the State during the year.
Insurgency-hit Tirap and Changlang districts witnessed a series of clashes between both the factions of the NSCN during the year.
In another development in both districts, the proscribed NSCN-K directed all the 12 elected representatives of those districts to withdraw support to the Dorjee Khandu Ministry. The directive of the rebel group evoked strong reactions with various organisations staging protests on several occasions.
The reported move of the Naga Peoples� Front (NPF), a Nagaland-based political party, to spread its wing to the State during the year also sparked off strong protests.
The year saw two women of the State creating records in mountaineering. Anshu Jamsenpa (32) climbed to the top of the world for a record second time in 10 days. She unfurled the national flag and Arunachal logo at the summit of Mt Everest on May 21. Another girl Tine Mena also created a mountaineering record by scaling the world�s highest peak on May 9 by just taking half a packet of noodles as her food.
Lifter Hitlar Tagru won three gold medals in the 6th National Youth Weightlifting Championship. � PTI