Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) has rejected the Arunachal Pradesh government’s purported move to relocate 60000 Chakmas and Hajongs to other states. 

In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Arunachal CM Pema Khandu and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, the foundation said Chakmas, Hajongs and ex-Assam Rifles personnel were settled in the then centrally-administered North East Frontier Agency from 1964 to 1968 in defence of the country following the 1962 Indo-China war.

The foundation said Khandu had spoken about the resettlement of Chakmas and Hajongs outside Arunachal while Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju stated in various public meetings that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019 was enacted to undo the Supreme Court judgment of 1996 granting the Chakmas and the Hajongs citizenship and as such, the Chakmas must not have any illusion and they would have to leave the state. 

“This is nothing but an act of racial profiling of the Chakmas and the Hajongs. This is proven from a number of actions of the state government. Arunachal had granted citizenship to the Lisus/Youbins who migrated in the 1960s en masse…

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“This grant of citizenship to the Lisus is absolutely illegal because under the Citizenship Act of 1955, each applicant has to submit his/her application individually and there is no provision in the Citizenship Act to declare a category of people as “citizens” en masse,” CDFI founder Suhas Chakma said.

He said when Arunachal implemented special programmes for the Tibetan refugees, no question was raised. 

The population of the Chakmas and the Hajongs, which was 14888 during 1964-69, increased to 47471 as per the 2011 census while the population of non-tribals rose from 36,614 persons in 1961 to 3,84,435 persons in 2011. 

“Many of these non-tribals were not settled by the Union of India unlike the Chakmas and the Hajongs. Therefore, targeting the Chakmas and the Hajongs for settlement outside of Arunachal proves we are being targeted because of our ethnicity,” Chakma said.

He said it was not the first attempt to dump the Chakmas and the Hajongs of Arunachal. He said when they were given the September 30, 1994 deadline to leave the state, the then CM Gegong Apang had tried to dump them in Assam and some 2,000 Chakmas had fled to Assam.