Guwahati: A recent order issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has closed the complaint against alleged forcible eviction of the Chakmas and Deoris from Mudokka Nallah and Sompoi-II villages under Diyun Circle of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The order was issued after the the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas assured the NHRC that no forceful eviction will be carried out in the Changlang and Namsai districts without paying compensation to the affected persons. The onshore oil and gas exploration, development, drilling, and production in Ningru Oil and Gas field in the said districts is being undertaken by Oil India Ltd (OIL).

The Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) had filed a complaint on January 20 against the attempted eviction of the Chakmas and Deoris by the state government in connivance with OIL.

They alleged that they were not being given fair compensation under the provisions of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013. CDFI also claimed that OIL was terming the oil fields as ‘forest’ so that it would not have to pay fair compensation and rehabilitation as required under the LARR Act.

The CDFI stated that the Chakma and Deori families were “project affected families” as per section 3(c) of LARR Act. The Act has a wide definition of “affected families”, including families whose land or other immovable property has been acquired, families whose primary source of livelihood stand affected by the acquisition of land, and so on.

Moddaka Nallah has been inhabited by the Chakma tribe since 1966. The Deori tribe has lived in Sompoi-II village for decades.

There are 13 families who have been issued notification by the Forest Department and the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) and qualify as “project affected families”.

“This protective order of the NHRC will go a long way to ensure the rights of the project-affected Chakmas and Deoris. The affected families are not opposing the oil drilling project, but seek compensation as per the LARR Act, which the Forest Department is denying, as it seeks the compensation for itself, which is illegal and unfortunate,” said Suhas Chakma, founder of the CDFI.

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