Arunachal: Chakmas & Hajongs protest against denial of residence proof certificates
Protest against denial of residence proof certificates

Diyun: The Chakmas and Hajongs organised a massive peaceful protest at Diyun, Changlang district against the denial of Residential Proof Certificates (RPC) to the Chakmas and Hajongs as part of the “state policy to throw them out of Arunachal Pradesh,” a statement from Chakma-Hajong organisations said. 

A five-member enquiry team consisting of Opak Gao (IAS), Mr Hage Laliang (Arunachal Pradesh Civil Service), Likha Sampu (APCS) and two representatives of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) are currently visiting Diyun EAC Office after the state government of Arunachal Pradesh succumbed to the ultimatum of the AAPSU to inquire the issuance of the RPCs or face a general strike. 

On July 29, 2022, the state government suspended the RPCs issued as on date and further not to issue any further RPCs.

“The denial of the RPCs is nothing but the continuation of racial profiling of the Chakmas and Hajongs. The Chakmas and Hajongs shall not accept Kangaroo justice where the complainant AAPSU has become the complainant, investigator, prosecutor and judge – all rolled into one. This is not something allowed in a country governed by the rule of law,” Krishna Chakma, spokesperson of the Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance leading the peaceful sit-in protest, told the media. 

“The first victim of the denial of the RPCs are job seekers who are students. They are citizens of India and often join recruitment in the army. The same is being denied through suspension of the RPCs as the recruitment drive into the Indian Army has started,” stated Rup Singh Chakma, President of the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union (APCSU).

“This is nothing but an attempt to deny the existence of the Chakmas and Hajongs in the State. The Chakmas and Hajongs reject such blatant discrimination,” stated Sumangol Chakma, convenor of the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Association.

“The whole process started with illegality. On July 18, 2022, the AAPSU delegation entered the office of the EAC Diyun and took away the papers relating to the RPCs. Instead of enforcing the rule of law, Arunachal Pradesh awarded the AAPSU by including the complainants in the inquiry team. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Arunachal Pradesh,” stated Santosh Chakma, President of the Committee for Citizens’ Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh.

There are about 65,000 Chakmas and Hajongs in the State who fled from East Pakistan and were settled by the Government of India in then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1964 to beef up security following the 1962 Indo-China war. Though they are citizens, Arunachal Pradesh has been denying the same despite the Supreme Court directing to process the citizenship applications on 9 January 1996. Not a single application has been processed as of date but in 2021, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister announced to resettle them outside the state. The denial of the RPCs is a part of the same campaign.

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