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Citizenship to Chakmas, Hajongs, SYO to take out protest rally

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

A CORRESPONDENT

BORDUMSA, Sept 25: At a time when the All Aruchal Pradesh Students’ Union announced Statewide protest over the Supreme court’s recent verdict to grant Citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs in Aruchal Pradesh, the tribal body comprising various communities including the Singpho Youth Organisation of Bordumsa in Changlang District of Aruchal Pradesh also expressed strong resentment over the verdict and has decided to oppose the same tooth and il.

According to Ongla Umbon and Thingnong Umbu the president and general secretary of Singpho Youth Organisation respectively, a huge processions comprising the aggrieved people of all segment of the society has been slated in Bordumsa township to show their disappointment over the decision of the country’s apex judicial body regarding the conferment of citizenship rights to Chakmas and Hajongs within 3 months of time frame.

The organisation would also submit memorandum to ADC Bordumsa to this effect.

It may be recalled here that the Supreme Court’s judgment asking the Centre and Aruchal Pradesh to immediately confer citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees who have been living in the frontier state for nearly half a century, has already triggered off opposition from various corners of the State with the All Aruchal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) already announcing a protest rally.

The major apprehension of the AAPSU as well as other opposing groups in the State is that the Chakmas and Hajongs, once granted citizenship and settlement rights in Aruchal Pradesh would one day reduce the indigenous tribal communities to a minority apart from taking away all opportunities currently available to them.

According to Singpho Youth Organisation, the Chakmas and Hajongs had fled from erstwhile East Pakistan due to persecution in the early 1960s, first entering Assam and then taken by the government to Changlang in the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA).

Their number has increased from about 15,000 in 1964-69 to about 55,000 now. In the absence of citizenship and land rights however, they have continued to live like refugees, except that the state government does provide them the basic amenities.

The representatives of Singpho body said, “While there was not much opposition to them in the early period because NEFA was an extremely backward area with little education and no elected body, from 1990 onwards the AAPSU built up an agitation demanding their ouster from Aruchal Pradesh as NEFA came to be known, first as a union territory in 1972 and then as a state in 1987, Interestingly, while AAPSU built up an agitation. They also got indirect support from the state government which told the apex court that it could not permit “outsiders” to settle in the state as it had limited resources and that it had the right to ask the Chakmas to leave. It had also told the apex court that settlement of these people would disturb the state’s ethnic balance and destroy its culture and identity.”

Meanwhile, an APPSU leader said, “The Chakma and Hajong refugees illegally migrated to our country and such order from the apex court has hurt the sentiments of the indigenous people of Aruchal Pradesh, thus termed the order as arbitrary and it is hurting the sentiments of the indigenous people of Aruchal Pradesh.”

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