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We’ll fight the legal battle to oppose move: Pema Khandu

Pema Khandu

 

Citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees

 OUR CORRESPONDENT

ITANAGAR: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday asserted that the State government will fight the legal battle with all preparations against granting of citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees in the State.

Khandu was responding to a question from Congress MLAs Nabam Tuki and Wanglin Lowangdong in the Assembly during Question Hour on the status of the review petition on granting of citizenship to the Chakma-Hajong refugees filed by the State government and the Centre before the Supreme Court.

The Chief Minister informed that the State government had filed a review petition on October 26, 2015 against the apex Court’s judgement of September 17 that same year, to grant citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs, which was dismissed by the Court during its hearing on the issue on November 19 that very year.

“The State government on September 14, 2016 filed a Special Leave Petition, which was admitted by the Supreme Court and the hearing is awaited,” the Chief Minister said, adding, that in accordance to the judgement of the apex Court of January 09, 1996, the State government has been providing basic amenities like health care, school, electricity and water to the Chakma-Hajong refugees living in Changlang, Namsai and Papumpare districts of the State.

When his attention was drawn by Lowangdong on the possibilities of the refugees to move petition in the Apex Court claiming themselves as the native of the State after the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Khandu replied that the State government will fight the legal battle “with all preparations”.

Responding to another supplementary on the issaue of encroachment of forest lands and illegal felling of trees by the refugees in Changlang district, the Chief Minister informed that he would convene a review meeting with the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and other Forest officials on January 10 to review the situation and accordingly action would be taken as per the law.

Khandu also said that the State government has given negative remarks to all the citizenship applications of the Chakmas and Hajongs, adding that the matter is with the Union Home Ministry for decision.

“As per directive of the apex Court of September 17, 2015, a total of 4, 637 citizenship applications of the refugees were processed by the State government with negative remarks and forwarded to the Home ministry,” the Chief Minister said.

In response to another supplementary query, Khandu informed the House that as per the special survey of 2015-16 conducted by the three Deputy Commissioners of Changlang, Namsai and Papumpare districts, the total population of Chakmas and Hajongs in the State stand at 65,875, including 13, 640 in Miao and 44, 630 at Bordumsa subdivisions of Changlang district, 5348 in Namsai district and 2257 in Papumpare.

He added that a total of 7,072 Tibetan refugees are staying in the State including 1,498 in West Kameng district, 1313 in Lohit, 1419 in Upper Siangn and 2842 in Changlang district.

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