New Delhi , Aug 23 : In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, RRS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagat and Chief Minister Pema Khandhu of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) today rejected the announcement by Arunachal Pradesh to deport 60,000 Chakmas and Hajongs, out of whom 94% are Indian citizens by birth, to other States.
On Aug , 15 Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced the plan to settle outside the State while Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in various public meetings stated that the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 (CAA) was enacted to undo the Supreme Court judgment of 1996 granting the Chakmas and Hajongs citizenship and the Chakmas must not in any galat premi (illusion) and they shall have to leave the State.
The Chakmas and Hajongs and ex- Assam Rifles personnel were settled in then Centrally Administered North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) from 1964 to 1968 for defense of India following 1962 Indo-China war.
“This is nothing but an act of racial profiling of the Chakmas and Hajongs. This is proven from a number of actions of the State government. The State of Arunachal Pradesh had granted citizenship to the Lisus/Youbins who has migrated to Arunachal Pradesh in 1960s enmasse vide notification dated 18th January 1994.
This grant of citizenship enmasse 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” enmasse. Further, Arunachal Pradesh implements special programmes for the Tibetan refugees but no question is raised. Furthermore, the population of Chakmas and Hajongs which was 14,888 during 1964-69 only increased to 47,471 as per the 2011 census i.e. 218% in 47 years while the population of other non-tribals by 955% during the same period i.e. from 36,614 persons in 1961 to 3,84,435 persons in 2011 as per the census and many of these non-tribals were not settled by the Union of India unlike the Chakmas and Hajongs.
Therefore, targeting of the Chakmas and Hajongs only for settlement outside of Arunachal Pradesh i.e. in Assam proves that we are being targeted because of our ethnicity.”- stated Suhas Chakma, founder of the CDFI.
*Rejecting the contention of Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju that the CAA has overruled the Supreme Court judgment of 1996, Suhas Chakma stated, “No law applies retroactively and therefore, the CAA which was enacted in December 2019 does not apply to Chakmas and Hajongs of the State as they had migrated during 1964-1968.
The Chakmas and Hajongs are governed by the Citizenship Act of 1955 under which they had submitted applications 21 years ago in 1998 but these applications have not been processed by the State of Arunachal Pradesh in clear contempt of the Supreme Court order and violations of the Citizenship Rules. Since the citizenship applications of these people are under adjudication of the Supreme Court of India in IA No.4 of 2017 in Writ Petition No.510 of 2007, it is not proper for the Law Minister to pass judgments on a subjudice matter.
Since 96% of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are citizens of India as per Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, they have all the rights as citizens and the constitution of India does not give power to the Union of India and the States to forcibly resettle a citizen in any place.
Furthermore, the constitutional validity of the CAA is also under challenge before the Supreme Court and the Union of India has not even framed the rules of the Act and as Law Minister he should not comment on a sub-juidice law.”
“The Chakmas and Hajongs totally and wholly reject any attempt to create ethno-Centric State by settling them outside the State. If Arunachal Pradesh wants to settle the Chakmas and Hajongs in other States, it will be expected to share the population burden of those States as part of India. In fact, more settlement in sparsely populated Arunachal Pradesh will be argued for ensuring territorial integrity of India given China’s threat. Each day there are incursions from China, there are hardly any people in the borders while the threats from China to the territorial integrity of India is more than before.”- stated Mr Nilondra Tanya Chakma, Arunachal Pradesh State Director of the CDFI.
This is not the first attempt to dump the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh. After 30th September 1994 deadline was given to the Chakmas and Hajongs to leave Arunachal Pradesh, then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Gegong Apang tried to dump them into Assam and on 21.09.1994 about 2,000 Chakmas from Kokila, Papumpare district fled to Assam. On 12 September 1994, they were forced back, and then Assam Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia ordered sealing of the border with Arunachal Pradesh and issued a ”shoot at sight order” to prevent Assam from being reduced to what late Saikia termed as “dumping ground”.
“If the Chakmas and Hajongs are dumped into Assam by Arunachal Pradesh, Assam shall be the dumping ground for all the unwanted communities in the States covered by the Inner Line Permit i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland and the Sixth Schedule Area states i.e. Meghalaya. The Union of India must not create more conflicts nor must it aid to create ethnocentric States. ”, stated Suhas Chakma.