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Recently the Hon'ble Chief Minister Pema Khandu boldly stated," all illegal immigrant Chakmas will be moved and settled outside Arunachal Pradesh with honour, and this matter has already been taken up and discussed with Union Home Minister Amit Shah”, Rijiju said there should be “no confusion about the fact” that Chakmas and Hajongs “will not be allowed to subsist or live in Arunachal Pradesh”
The deportation of 6000 Chakmas discussed by the state government fueled an undigestable sentiment among the chakma-Hajong community.
Retaliation from the Community:
In a statement on August 23, the Chakma Rights and Development Organisation (CRDO) expressed concern over Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s Independence Day speech and Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju’s ‘warnings’ during his ‘Jan Ashirvad Yatra’ in the State.
Chakma and Hajong groups have rejected the purported move by the Arunachal Pradesh government to relocate them to another state,
“We are very worried about our future as we and our forefathers have suffered long enough because of partition. We oppose any move to disturb, dismember or dislodge the Chakma community from the State any further,” the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Gaonburah (village headman) Association said
“The rehabilitation was under a centrally-sponsored plan following a series of discussions between the representatives of the Central government, the NEFA administration, and local tribal leaders,” the organization’s president Mahendra Chakma said
So what now?
The New Delhi-based Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Shah, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagat, Khandu, and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma rejecting the resettlement plan, Since the community feel deprived living in the country for so long.
The issue of Chakma and Hajong has been prolonged existed in the state which one or another way has created an environment of despondency and uncertainty.
They were originally inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who were systematically forced out of that country. First they were displaced from their original homesteads because of the Kaptai hydroelectric dam on the Karnaphuli river in the early 1960s, and there was no rehabilitation and compensation. Later, they became victims of religious persecution in East Pakistan, and fled to India. While the Chakmas are Buddhists, the Hajongs are Hindus.
They had initially crossed over to the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). But fearing trouble between the Mizos and the Chakmas, the Assam government sent them to the Tirap division of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA, present-day Arunachal Pradesh), which was administered by the Ministry of External Affairs through the Assam governor. P N Luthra, then adviser to the governor, informed NEFA officials on April 21, 1965: “Settlement of [these] people in NEFA will also help in developing the pockets that are lying unused and unoccupied… Besides, the presence of stretches of vacant land along the border is strategically not desirable.” Altogether 14,888 persons of 2,748 families were settled in NEFA in 1964-69.
Pressure groups in the state have time and again raised their voice against the burgeoning issue of Chakma and Hajong settlement, there has always been issues pertaining to the encroachment of the indigenous land by the Chakma-Hajong community, the unrest created by the increasing demography of the Chakma-Hajong in the state has been felt immensely. The state government's effort to bring an amicable solution has always been encapsulated by the shackles of human rights and the Chakma-Hajong community across the country.
_By Jon Pebi Tato,Editor, SPACE
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