Dams, art and protest : Arunachal Pradesh


Arunachal Pradesh: Dams, art and protes. Ebo Milli remembers being in sixth or seventh grade when he began witnessing and listening to anti-dam protests in his home district of Lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. That period, from about 2008 to 2013, was when concerns and vocal opposition to large-scale dam projects in Arunachal Pradesh were on the rise.

Over the years, as the government pursued plans to utilize the state’s hydropower potential, voices against it gradually diminished. However, recent developments have given these voices a new impetus. According to Chief Minister Pima Khandu, the state government is committed to launching such projects “only once these concerns are addressed through a consultative process.”
In March this year, police in Arunachal Pradesh arrested lawyer Ebo Mili and Assam-based artist Nilim Mahanta for their role in damaging government property.

The two were arrested for painting the State Civil Secretariat boundary wall in the capital, Itanagar, with the words “No more dams” and a protest fist. Although the graffiti itself may have raised eyebrows, what caused a big stir was that the wall had recently served as a canvas for a large wall that the state government renamed Arunachal Pradesh for 50 years. Made to be completed.
Numerous artists from outside the state and from local tribal communities have worked on the wall, dubbed the “Wall of Harmony.”

From the image of Daying Ering, the state’s first member of parliament, to reflect the tribal lifestyle and historical events of the last 50 years before the state was formally formed, the wall aims to educate people about the state’s past. It was to give and remind. Instead, he divided the opinion. Mili and some other people who had seen the wall were amazed to see the painting of the dam on the wall. To him, this is a sign of the government’s continued pressure on environmentally harmful hydropower projects.

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