‘Chakmas, Hajongs in Arunachal won’t co-operate with illegal census’

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A rights body on Thursday said the Chakma and Hajong communities in Arunachal Pradesh would not cooperate with any “illegal census” of the state government.

The Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCHAP) said that the two communities would not cooperate with any “illegal census”.

“Any census on them must meet the litmus test of complying with Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the 1996 Supreme Court judgment in the case of National Human Rights Commission of India vs State of Arunachal Pradesh,” CCRCHAP General Secretary Santosh Chakma said in a statement.

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) reportedly in a statement on Wednesday said that the Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh has been instructed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu to conduct the census of the Chakmas and Hajongs of the state.

The CCRCHAP statement said that about 95 per cent of the Chakmas and Hajongs are citizens of India by birth and they cannot be discriminated against in any manner.

Further, the Supreme Court in its order of 1996 unequivocally stated while the application of any individual Chakma migrant of 1964-1969 is pending consideration, the state of Arunachal Pradesh shall not evict or remove the concerned person from his occupation on the ground that he is not a citizen of India until the competent authority has taken a decision in that behalf, the statement said.

Santosh Chakma said: “The Chakmas and Hajongs reserve the right to approach the Supreme Court in case of violations of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the judgement of 1996.”

There are about 65,000 Chakma and Hajong people in the state out of which about 4,500 are migrants of 1964 -1969, while the rest are the descendants and citizens by birth under the Citizenship Act of 1955.

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