AAPSU Chakma
AAPSU general secretarty Tobom Dai

Itanagar: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) has asked the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) and other similar Arunachal-based organisations to stay away from interfering in the state’s ‘internal matters’.

Referring to the Arunachal Pradesh government’s purported move to carry out a census of the Chakmas residing in Changlang district, which the CDFI has termed “illegal and unconstitutional”, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said, “The state government’s decision to carry out a census in the Changlang district is nothing but a normal exercise to determine the illegal settlers that have entered the state after 1969. The CDFI and other organisations should stop making a fuss over such issues.”

The Chakma and Hajong refugees migrated to India from Bangladesh in 1964-69 and their population was 14,888. As per the 2011 census, their population has increased to 47471.  

Dai, who was addressing a football event at Bordumsa in Changlang district, said, “The CDFI’s objection to the census exercise and terming it as an act of ‘racial profiling’ of the Chakma community is only an effort of the organisation to derail the government process by bringing in the human rights and racial angle.”

The CDFI had in its statement recently said: “Conducting a census of only the Chakmas is nothing but an act of racial profiling in clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ratified by India.”

It had also sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Pema Khandu, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein in the matter.  

“The government cannot make all the policies as per the whims and fancies of the Chakmas. They should also gracefully accept the decision of the state and central governments with regards to their relocation to other places,” Dai said.

“How long will Arunachal host you (Chakmas and Hajongs)? When the Government of India and Government of Arunachal are finding a better way to relocate you under the ambit of the Indian Constitution, why are you opposing the same?” the AAPSU leader said.

The CDFI had earlier also rejected the Arunachal Pradesh government’s purported move to relocate the Chakma and Hajong refugees to other states while claiming that “they are being targeted because of their ethnicity.”

The Chakmas and Hajongs, originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of 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.

The current population of the Chakmas and Hajongs settled in Arunachal is believed to be above 1 lakh.

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