Chakma and Hajong people on Tuesday organised protest demonstrations at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against “racial profiling” of these two tribes by Arunachal Pradesh government through a special census only for them.
Chakma leaders said that after the sit-in demonstrations of a large number of Chakma and Hajong men and women, they sent a memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah demanding to stop and abandon the ongoing process of the “illegal census”.
“Bring an end to the repression on the Chakma and Hajong tribals through racial profiling, proper implementation of the Supreme Court judgments on the conferment of citizenship and compliance with the directions of the National Human Rights Commission,” the memorandum said.
The Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union (APCSU), the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRHCAP), the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma and Hajong Students Association (APCHSA), and the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) led the protest demonstrations.
APCSU President Rup Singh Chakma said that on August 15 last year, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced that the Chakmas and Hajongs who were settled in the state about 60 years ago would be relocated outside the state and from Tuesday (April 5), the training of the government enumerators conducted at Diyun under Changlang district.
“In clear violations of the directions of the NHRC against the ongoing racial profiling, on January 24, the Arunachal Pradesh government officials sought to conduct illegal census. Chakmas and Hajongs shall not participate in any such illegal census,” he said.
CCRHCAP General Secretary Santosh Chakma said that the Chakmas and Hajongs who had migrated during 1964-1969 are citizens of India as per the Indira-Mujib accord of 1972 and Section 5 (1) of the Citizenship Act of 1955. “Those who are born in India are citizens by birth too. The state of Arunachal Pradesh, instead of implementing NHRC order of 1966 to confer citizenship and enrolling the Chakmas and Hajongs into electoral rolls, had started racial profiling of the Chakmas and Hajongs to keep the pot boiling,” he said.
Addressing the protest in the national capital, writer and rights leader Suhas Chakma said that there is no law in India which can make particular citizens stand in the queue for census, solely based on their ethnic origin and this is prohibited by Article 14 of the Constitution.
By conducting special census, the Arunachal government is destroying the communal harmony and cordial relations between the Chakmas and Hajongs and the other communities, he added.
“There is need for immediate intervention from Home Minister to bring some sanity to this organised targeting of the worst victims of the descendants of the partition of India,” he stated.
There are about 65,000 Chakma and Hajong people in Arunanchal, out of which about 4,500 are migrants from 1964-1969, while the rest are the descendants and citizens by birth under the Citizenship Act.