Guwahati: Suhas Chakma, the Director of Rights and Risks Analysis Group has turned down heavily on the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) for its alleged opposition to the counting of Covid-19-afflicted Chakmas in the Arunachal Pradesh tally.
In response to the AAPSU's controversial statement, the Chakma leader said, "There is no word called "Arunachalese" in the constitution of India which defines people of Arunachal Pradesh into Schedule Tribes and non-tribals.The Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh, in particular, those infected by COVID-19 were born in Arunachal Pradesh and they are citizens of India by birth from Arunachal Pradesh as per Section 3 of the Citizenship Act and they have been exercising the right to franchise in the elections. Rather, by the illogical definition of the AAPSU, about 3,84,435 non-tribals as per the 2011 census and all the Indian soldiers serving in Arunachal Pradesh including in Indo-China borders also cannot be counted in Arunachal Pradesh in case of infections."
At least 25 Chakma tribe people have tested positive for the pathogen in Arunachal Pradesh after returning recently. Suhas Chakma says that his tribesmen and women leave the state after facing discrimination. "Chakmas and Hajongs are not given any job, they are not covered under any welfare schemes of the government and currently, they are not even covered under Ayushman Bharat and Old Age Pension scheme, forcing the Chakmas to go outside the State to work as laborers in the unorganised sector", he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) yesterday issued a statement yesterday stating the Covid-19 positive cases of Changlang district, particularly those from the Chakma community cannot be included in the state's tally as the Chakmas are not Arunachalees."
The comments of the apex student body have been made the backdrop of an unprecedented rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state. After the return of citizens who were stuck in other parts of India, the state has registered a steady stream of new cases. According to the Union Home Ministry's data, the number of cases in Arunachal has now surged to 45.