ITANAGAR: As people rang in the 71st Independence Day with the usual fervour across Arunachal Pradesh, most residents in an entire district stayed away from any celebrations.

The proposed Lower Siang district was set to become the 21st district but its official functioning has been marred by several issues.

The government’s delay in making the district functional led to a series of protests and bandhs earlier this year. The issue is compounded by the fact that there still exists opposition from some sections over the inclusion of certain villages in the district which is being carved out of East and West Siang districts.

Most residents on Tuesday chose to stay indoors while government events were held. While the national flag was hoisted at government offices, the main parade grounds wore an empty look. Save for some government officials and security personnel, the grounds were mostly deserted.

Galo Students’ Union president, Binya Ronya, said that the “non-cooperation movement” was launched to protest the state government’s alleged “negligent and step-motherly treatment meted out to the locals of foothills of the state”.

Ronya said that the district has not become functional although newer districts have been established.

The boycott, initiated by the GSU, Galo Youth Organisation and Galo People's Front, is the first major development since the ‘Group of Ministers’ formed by the state government submitted its report relating to the issue last month. The State Cabinet is to take a decision based on the report. However, the Cabinet’s delay in making a concrete move is leading to anger within some circles.

Ronya said that the state government should not “play further with the sentiments of the people” and questioned, “why the district is not made functional even after submitting of the report”.

The contents of the report by the Group of Ministers have not been made public yet.