Arunachal people to no longer accept Chakma, Hajong refugees: AAPSU

PTI | Itanagar | Updated: 25-08-2021 21:16 IST | Created: 25-08-2021 21:16 IST
Arunachal people to no longer accept Chakma, Hajong refugees: AAPSU
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The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) on Wednesday asserted that the people of the state will no longer accept the Chakma and Hajong refugees, who have entered India from erstwhile East Pakistan in the 1960s, and will not provide even an inch of land to them.

Reacting to a recent letter by a Chakma body to Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejecting a proposed move to relocate them from Arunachal Pradesh to another state, AAPSU leaders told a press conference that the government cannot make any decision that is against the rights of the indigenous people of the state.

The state assembly was informed last year that as per a special survey conducted by the government during 2015-16, the approximate number of Chakma and Hajong population in the state is 65,875. People belonging to the two tribes live mainly in Changlang, Namsai and Papum Pare districts.

"The Union has been against the settlement of Chakmas and Hajongs because of the perilous demographic changes in the districts they have settled in,'' AAPSU General Secretary Tabom Dai said.

Their attitude towards the ethnic tribes of the state is also ''aggressive'', Dai claimed.

"The refugees had wanted an amicable solution to the decades-long issue. Now, stating that they won't move from Arunachal Pradesh is never accepted by the people," he said.

Chakmas and Hajongs, who are Buddhists and Hindus respectively, migrated to India between 1964 and 1966 from Chittagong Hills Tract of then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to escape religious persecution and were settled in North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), present-day Arunachal Pradesh.

The AAPSU claimed that Chakma and Hajong leaders who live in New Delhi are unaware of the ground reality in Arunachal Pradesh and they should refrain from supporting the refugees.

AAPSU President Hawa Bagang, who was also present in the press conference, said, "The Chakmas and Hajongs should understand that those leaders are just using them. There can never be any decision made by the Government of India against the rights of indigenous people of Arunachal." The Chakma Development Foundation of India on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Arunachal Chief Ministers Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma opposing the relocation move.

The letter mentioned that Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are likely to be relocated to Assam.

Another body, the Chakma Rights and Development Organisation, has urged the Centre to create a separate Union territory for Chakmas and Hajongs in the areas of Arunachal where they live at present.

"It hurts us badly when after 57 years of rehabilitation, we are branded as 'refugees' by none other than the CM himself. We were 'refugees' at one point, long ago before the resettlement in NEFA but (now) are like any other citizens of the country now," it said in a statement. Arunachal CM Pema Khandun recently said as per prevailing acts and laws, no non-indigenous tribe can permanently settle in the state.

"The Chakma and Hajong settlers are also human. They too are suffering a lot here. Therefore, we have to evolve a win-win solution for them and our indigenous tribes," he said and urged the MPs, particularly Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who belongs to Arunachal, to pursue the matter with the Central leadership for a permanent solution.

The AAPSU welcomed Khandu's statement and termed it ''historic''. The apex students' body of the state also appreciated Rijiju for his recent statement to bring a permanent solution to the refugee issue under the ambit of the Indian constitution.

The AAPSU also appealed to the prime minister and the Union home minister to convert the statement into reality.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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