Protect tribals if Chakma & Hajong are considered for citizenship, says legislative assembly

ITANAGAR, Oct 18: The Arunachal Pradesh legislative Assembly today resolved to call upon the Centre to immediately take steps to protect the territorial and other rights of the tribals in the state if granting of citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs is considered.
A government resolution brought by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bamang Felix in the house was adopted with modification after marathon discussion of over five hours.
All the members, cutting across political affiliations, vented their ire and outrightly rejected granting of citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs which they feel would change the state’s demography.
The state’s Advocate General Nilay Dutta who was invited to the house to suggest the legal aspects, recommended compilation of a database of the refugees who came to the state between 1964 and 1969 from Chitagong Hills Tract in Bangladesh, after being displaced due to construction of the Kaptai dam.
Stating that there cannot be road backward for the state after suffering for over 50 years over the contentious issue, Dutta pointed out that the Supreme Court Judgement of September 17, 2015 was misunderstood.
“In the judgement, the apex court asked the state government and the Centre to finalize the pending applications by Chakmas and Hajongs seeking citizenship within a time frame.
“Nowhere in the judgement there was mention about granting citizenship and the court has fixed second week of December 2017 as the deadline to dispose off all the applications,” he said.
The AG asked the government not to use the term refugees as displaced people cannot be refugees.
Dutta said only legal migrants can apply for citizenship, that too with valid documents.
“As the Chakmas and Hajongs cannot produce such documents, it will prove that they are illegal migrants and there will be no question of conferring citizenship to them,” he pointed out.
He added that once their legality is established, they will have to provide all the relevant documents, failing which their names cannot be recommended to the home ministry.
He also said the government should not file a curative petition at this point of time and should file a petition in the Supreme Court to take up the two pending Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) filed by the state government and the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) against the judgement of the Gauhati High Court which permitted Chakmas and Hajongs to enter Arunachal without Inner Line Permit (ILP).
“The state, which is protected under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 and Chin Hills Regulation of 1896, and nobody can encroach upon the state’s land which is a major advantage for the government. The matter should be brought before the apex court,” he suggested.
Taking part in the discussion, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that as per the home ministry directives, out of total 4,637 citizenship applications, 2,810 were taken up for hearing by the DCs of Changlang, Namsai and Papum Pare and out of that a total of 1,222 were actually been heard while 1,588 applicants were found to be expired, shifted or absent.
“Out of the 1,222 applications, 900 were forwarded to the home ministry along with recommendations of the state government as none of the applications satisfies all the conditions laid down under the Citizenship Act 0f 1955.
Thus none of the applicants has been recommended by the state government for grant of citizenship,” Khandu added.
He said that as per official record, a total of 65,851 Chakmas and Hajongs are settled in three districts with 58,279 in Changlang followed by Namsai(5,347) and Papum Pare (2,257).
“They are criminals in nature and encroached around 1230 hectares of reserve forest and 5,819.88 hectares of unreserved forest in Changlang district while an area of 289.57 hectares were encroached upon in Namsai district. (PTI)


Assembly passes bill for Kamle district

The State Legislative Assembly has passed the Arunachal Pradesh (Re-organisation of District) (Amendment) Bill, 2017 paving the way for creation of Kamle district by voice vote on Wednesday.
With the official creation of the new district, the total number of districts in the state shot up to 23.
The Kamle district will have three circles each from Upper and Lower Subansiri districts. Raga is the Headquarter of the new district with 22,256 population.
Stating that the demand for Kamle district was genuine and it was a long pending demand of the people of Raga constituency,Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed the house that creationof new district will help accelerate the developmental activities in Raga area and the benefit of central and state sponsored schemes will also reach to the people of many interior villages. The new district would pave the way for effective administration to maintain law and order and bring all round development, he said.
Considering the opinion of the some of the members of the Assembly and the infrastructure which requires huge financial involvement after creation of new district, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that time has come to formulate guidelines for creation of new district. He assured the house to revisit district creation policy 1983.
The bill was introduced by Pema Khandu in the Assembly on Oct 14 last.
Earlier, while supporting the bill for creation of Kamle district, former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki urged the state Govt to create departmental posts for new district and allocate sufficient fund for infrastructure development of district headquarter.
Stating that creation of Kamle district was long-pending demand of the people, Opposition leader Takam Pario hoped development will be accelerated after creation of new district.
It is a genuine case and I support it, said Wanglin Lowandong. Lowangdong, however, said there should be a clear cut policy on creation of district, and administrative circles.
Many of the legislators, including Tamar Murtem Japu Deru, Kento Rina, P D Sona, Pani Taram, Paknga Bage, Tesam Pongte, Tage Taki, Markio Tado, Jarkar Gamlin, Likha Saaya, Punji Mara, Tanga Byaling, Dikto Yekar, Lombo Tayeng, Olom Panyang, Mutchu Mithi and Thangwang Wangham participated in the discussion and supported the bill. Later the speaker adjourned the house sine die. (ATNS)


Arunachal to push for separate IAS, IPS cadre

The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly today adopted a resolution to urge the Centre to take immediate steps for creation of separate cadre of All India Services of IAS, IPS and IFS for the state.
Bringing the resolution, Chief Minister Pema Khandusaid, “After 30 years of attaining statehood, it is the right time we get separate cadres so that development percolates down to all parts of the state in real sense.” He said every state has its own cadres except Arunachal, which has cadres under AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram and other union territories).
“Because of absence of separate cadres, the central schemes could not be implemented and executed properly in the state as officers from AGMUT come to the state for a short period and are not able to understand the tribal culture and sentiments,” he pointed out adding, with a dedicated team of officers under the state cadre, development would begin in real sense.
He added that the Jont Cadre Authority of the union home ministry has fixed a preliminary discussion in New Delhi on November 3. (PTI)