NHRC directs MHA to protect rights of Arunachal Chakmas

File photo of women weaving at a Chakma refugee camp in Southern Tripura.

File photo of women weaving at a Chakma refugee camp in Southern Tripura.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Arunachal Pradesh government to submit an action taken report against the racial profiling and relocation of people belonging to the Chakma and Hajong communities.

The NHRC’s order on Monday, based on a complaint filed by the New Delhi-based Chakma Development Foundation of India, has given the government six weeks to ensure the protection of human rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs.

The foundation had sought the NHRC’s intervention against the racial profiling of 65,000 Chakma and Hajong tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh through an “illegal census” that was scheduled from December 11, 2021, for their deportation , expulsion or relocation from the State.

Displaced by a dam in erstwhile East Pakistan, the Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs were settled in Arunachal Pradesh in the 1960s. Of some 65,000 people belonging to these two communities today, 60,500 are citizens by birth while the citizenship applications of 4,000 migrants are yet to be processed.

The Supreme Court had in January 1996 declared the Chakmas and Hajongs as citizens and directed the Centre and the State government to process their citizenship applications. A similar judgement was pronounced in September 2015 after the matter was not sorted out.

The foundation, in its appeal to the NHRC, also referred to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s announcement on August 15, 2021, that the Chakmas and Hajongs would be relocated outside the State. The proposed “census” of the two communities, the foundation said, was a follow-up of that announcement.

“The recent measures with respect to the Chakmas and Hajongs are contrary to the laws of the land. Instead of complying with the Supreme Court judgments, the State government initiated their racial profiling while Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has been repeatedly advocating their forcible relocation,” the foundation’s Suhas Chakma said.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 6:02:51 pm |