Itanagar: A team of All Arunachal Pradesh Student’s Union (AAPSU) led by its general secretary Tobom Dai on Saturday visited Khatan village in Lohit district including the traditional lands of the Mishmi community in the area which have allegedly been encroached upon by the Chakma settlers.
While deliberating on the purpose of the visit in a meeting with the village head of the Chakma settlements held later on the day, Dai stressed the need to maintain the rule of law and peace in the area.
He further told the Chakma settlers that they will have to respect the customary laws, rights and traditions of indigenous communities and also stay within their designated blocks.
The visiting team also out rightly condemned the alleged hostile behaviour and illegal activities of the Chakmas at Khatan village whereby shots were fired in the air to threaten the villagers.
Simmering tension prevailed in the Khatan village earlier this week after a large number of Chakma settlers came to the hamlet and allegedly resorted to pelting stones and fired several gunshots in the air after the villagers protested their efforts to encroach their traditional land.
As per the locals and All Mishmi Students’ Union (AMSU), the Chakmas were not only encroaching land but also building several structures including monasteries in the Mishmi land and blocking important paths used by the villagers.
Chakmas had on the other claimed that they were protesting against the desecration of the Buddha temple established in the area.
Lamenting on the negligence of both the state and union governments to protect the indigenous people of the state, Dai later in a statement questioned the lack of any real and concrete initiative from the governments even in the present crisis unfolding at Khatan.
“The issue of granting of citizenship to the Chakmas will be settled by the Supreme Court of India and the Union Government but that does not mean that the illegal immigrants can go on usurping community lands belonging to indigenous communities,” Dai said.
“The union shall not stay silent to repeated atrocities. We strongly demand immediate and proactive measures from the state government to put a permanent end to the present crisis,” the AAPSU general secretary said.
The visiting team that also comprised of members from the AMSU, Singpho Youth Organization and the district students unions of the Lohit, Namsai, Lower Dibang Valley, Dibang Valley, East Siang and Changlang districts also met the gram chairperson and gaon bura of Khatan village on the day who, in turn, apprised the AAPSU members of the plethora of problems faced by the villagers.
A separate meeting was also held with the Cultural and Literary Society of Mishmi (CALSOM), the parental apex organisation of the Mishmi community at Kamlang regarding the vexed issue of illegal encroachment and anti-social activities carried out by the Chakmas.
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