Restore Chakma and Hajongs' rights: Right Cause


GUWAHATI, Sept 23:   The imbroglio on the rights of Chakma Hajong is a reflection of monumental failure and mismagement by the government, said leaders of Right Cause. 
“We urge restoration of all rights to vulnerable Chakmas and Hajongs without further delay as 90 per cent of them are already citizens by birth,” said Right Cause president Mahendra Chakma while addressing the press in the city on Saturday. Right Cause is an organization working for the legitimate and democratic rights of Chakmas and Hajongs of Aruchal Pradesh.
Chakma said, “The issue of citizenship in Aruchal Pradesh is fallout of the anti-foreigner agitation in Assam. Citizenship has already been granted implicitly to them when the Government rehabilitated them and allotted 5 acres of land per family was given by government in 1960s. The issue has been unnecessarily politicized and has become like the proverbial goose that lays golden eggs at the cost of vulnerable Chakma and Hajong tribal population. The population of 47,471 (as per 2011 census) has been blown out of proportion to 1 lakh in order to create fear and xenophobia in the State.”
Adding Chakma said that the allegation of fresh illegal migrants is out of place due to the stringent vigilance and constant threat of deportation and vitiated atmosphere lurking in the state. There is also no incentive for any Chakma-Hajong to come to Aruchal from other states as the Chakmas of other states are enjoying all fundamental rights as citizens, including indigenous ST status.
 “The present problem is also a result of misidentification of Tibetan refugees who have not accepted Indian citizenship and decided to go back once Tibet is free and the Chakma and Hajong refugees who have come with the intent of making India their permanent home as they are anyway persons of Indian origin. Blanket labeling of refugees under one bucket and failure to recognize this distinction has led to the present crisis. The Chakma refugees who came in 1986 and were camped along Indo-Bangladesh borders of Tripura and repatriated in 1997 are different and not to be confused with that of Chakma and Hajong refugees who were permanently rehabilitated in NEFA,” said Mahendra Chakma.
They demanded immediate restoration of all the rights like public employment banned in 1980, issue of ration card in 1991, and reinstatement of Gaon Burah or Panchayat raj institution which was cancelled in 1994.
The most vulnerable and margilized Chakma and Hajong tribes have suffered long enough and endured suffering and have no one to look up to unlike the Tibetans who have the blessings of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to guide.
Chakma also said, “We at Right Cause also urge all stakeholders and political leaders not to politicize the issue further and work together towards a permanent solution to the problem. It is sad to see that the patriotism of the Chakmas and their loyalty to India has been exploited by the government when it settled them in NEFA to safeguard Chi border but 50 years after rehabilitation continue to face this ordeal, suspended between the mirage of citizenship and threat of deportation.”

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