Tribal body urges Shah to look into repressions on Chakmas

The Delhi-based Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) on Friday sought intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to stop alleged repressions on the Chakma tribals in four northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.

The CDFI in a memorandum submitted to Shah on Friday cautioned against the “growing alienation of the Chakmas from the Bharatiya Janata Party as a result of repression on them in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram”.

CDFI founder Suhas Chakma said that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu in his Independence Day address proposed to relocate Chakmas and Hajongs 60-years after their permanent settlement.

He said that over 110 Chakma tribal families at Thedongnala under Lumding Circle in Hojai district of Assam “illegally evicted” during an eviction drive since November 8 despite the Chakmas inhabiting the area for over 40 years.

The Tripura government has directed the officials on August 2 to conduct investigation into alleged influx of only Chakmas as alleged foreigners despite more influx from the other communities, CDFI said adding that Scheduled Tribes status from the Chakmas had been snatched in Mizoram as non-Mizo people under the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 by allocating only one per cent of the seats for the Chakmas in higher technical education.

“These are some instances as part of the nation-wide repression on 2,25,000 Chakmas in India as per 2011 census,” Suhas Chakma said.

He said: “If the repression on the Chakmas continues unabated and corrective remedial measures are not taken, growing alienation of the Chakmas has the potential to impact on the electoral outcomes in the forthcoming Tripura Assembly elections (2023) against the BJP.”

Out of the 20 reserved Assembly seats for the Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, the Chakmas are dominant and deciding factors in seven Assembly constituencies.

As remedial measures, the CDFI urged the Home Minister to ask Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu to issue an official statement rejecting the proposed illegal and unconstitutional relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs.

The organisation requested Shah also to ask Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma to immediately provide rehabilitation and resettlement to all the Chakma families as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to either stop investigation into the Chakmas only as alleged foreigners or inquire into all foreigners irrespective of caste, ethnic origin or religion.

“The Home Minister can ask Mizoram Governor to examine the constitutionality of the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 especially in the light of the court judgment in a PIL in 2016 and issue necessary directions to the state government to withdraw the unconstitutional rules,” the CDFI memorandum said.