Chakma students’ union seeks Indian citizenship for Chakmas, Hajongs

ITANAGAR, 3 Jun: The Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union (APCSU) on Thursday said it has submitted a memorandum to union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking granting of Indian citizenship to the 4,627 Chakma and Hajong migrants whose applications are pending in the home affairs ministry.

The union also urged the home minister to instruct the Arunachal government to facilitate and allow enrollment of all eligible Chakma and Hajong voters in the electoral rolls.

It requested Shah to direct the Arunachal government to “provide and include Chakma-Hajongs in the central government welfare schemes like MGNREGA, PMJJBY, PMSBY, etc, and any other schemes/measures which your honour deem fit and proper for the uplift of the Chakma-Hajongs, keeping in view their systematic denial and deprivation for the last six decades.”

In a press release, the APCSU said that the Supreme Court in its judgment on 9 January, 1996, directed the Centre to grant citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs in Arunachal under the Citizenship Act, 1955. Similarly, it said, on 17 September, 2015, the Supreme Court once again directed the Centre to process the pending 4,627 citizenship applications and grant citizenship to eligible Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal within three months.

“However, the said direction has not been complied with and getting delayed for one reason or the other,” the union said.

“As on date, 90 percent of the Chakma-Hajong population (ie 47,471, as per the 2011 census) are citizens by birth under Section 3 of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, and more than 5,000 Chakma-Hajongs are exercising the right of franchise since 2005, following a decision on 28 September, 2000, by the Delhi High Court. However, the said decision is flouted by the state government officials at their whims and fancies by rejecting the enrollment applications of Chakma-Hajongs on flimsy grounds. In the process, the Chakma-Hajongs, who are 90 percent citizens by birth as per law, are unable to join the electoral politics and resultantly, they are denied to avail the benefits of central government’s poor people welfare schemes like MGNREGA, PMJJBY, PMSBY, etc. The systematic denial and deprivation even after six decades of their migration is uncalled for from the officials of the state government of Arunachal Pradesh as both the state and the Centre are ruled by the BJP,” APCSU president Drishya Muni Chakma said.