Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh unit of National People’s Party (NPP) has welcomed the state government’s purported move to relocate the Chakma and Hajong refugees from the state and bring about a permanent solution in the long-pending issue.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, NPP state president Mutchu Mithi said several organisations including the people of the state have already made it clear they would never accept the Chakmas and Hajongs as one of the indigenous people of Arunachal.
“Although the Arunachalees have sympathy for the Chakmas and Hajongs, that does not mean that they will be accepted here,” he said.
Mithi, who also represents the Roing assembly constituency in the Arunachal assembly, said the Chakma and Hajong refugees can seek citizenship in other places under provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). However, they should know that the doors of Arunachal Pradesh would always remain closed for them.
“The CAA is not applicable in Arunachal Pradesh. Hence, granting them Arunachalee citizenship is not possible and neither is it in our domain,” he said.
The NPP president also expressed concern over the ever growing population of the refugees.
“Their population at present is anywhere between 1 and 1.50 lakh which is much higher than some of the indigenous tribes of the state and this is a serious issue. Granting citizenship to them will create a drastic demographic as well as political change in Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.
Welcoming the statements given by chief minister Pema Khandu and Union law minister Kiren Rijiju on the matter, Mithi at the same time cautioned that the state government should not amalgamate the inter-state boundary and rehabilitation issue.
Both are two different issues and must be dealt with separately. Moreover, the NPP also urges the state government to be firm on both these important subjects, he said.
The Chakmas and Hajongs, originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of the former East Pakistan, had to flee when their land was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
The groups entered India through what was then the Lushai Hills district of Assam (today’s Mizoram). While some stayed back, with Chakmas already living in the Lushai Hills, the Indian government moved a majority of the refugees to present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists, while the Hajongs are Hindus.
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