CDFI files complaint with NHRC over land compensation for Chakmas and Deoris

NEW DELHI, 22 Jan: The Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) has filed a complaint (1241/IN/2022) with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the denial of compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act) to the Chakma residents of Mudokka Nallah village and the Deori residents of Sompoi-II village in Diyun circle of Changlang district by the Oil India Ltd (OIL).

In a press release, the CDFI said that the two communities are being displaced for “oil drilling works at the location KUP and KUL under Nigru PML, owned by the OIL.”

“Both Mudokka Nallah village, inhabited by Chakmas, and Sompoi-II village, inhabited by Deoris, are government recognized villages as per the gazette notification issued by the Arunachal Pradesh government and they are the owners and occupants of the lands. However, the local authorities of Arunachal Pradesh government and the OIL have been using third parties who are not project-affected persons to coerce the poor project-affected victims to accept some sort of compensation package without any formal process to deny payment of the compensation under the LARR Act,” CDFI founder Suhas Chakma said in the complaint.

“The Supreme Court of India in its verdict in National Human Rights Commission vs state of Arunachal Pradesh and

Anr specifically directed that ‘except in accordance with law, the Chakmas shall not be evicted from their homes and shall not be denied domestic life and comfort therein’. If any attempt is made by the authorities whether the ministry of petroleum and gas, the OIL and the state of Arunachal Pradesh to evict the Chakmas without invoking the LARR Act in clear violation of the Supreme Court direction, it becomes the responsibility of the NHRC to initiate contempt proceedings as the petitioner to the Supreme Court petition,” Chakma said.

He said that the CDFI also reserves the right to initiate contempt proceedings against the local authorities and officials of the OIL for any violation of the Supreme Court judgment pertaining to the Chakmas of the state.

The CDFI said that, on 17 January, 2022, the Diyun EAC organized a meeting in his official chamber in clear violation of the Covid-19 protocols to facilitate forcible eviction of the Chakmas and Deoris without paying any compensation. In the said meeting, 11 persons were invited despite the Covid-19 protocol issued by the state disaster management authority 11 January, disallowing public from visiting government offices.

It said that the exemption to visit government offices for fully vaccinated persons was approved by the Changlang deputy commissioner only on 19 January, but the EAC organized the meeting at this chamber on 17 January.

“What is the earth-shaking hurry to organize such a meeting on 17 January, 2022, in clear violation of the Covid-19 protocols with third parties who do not reside or belong to Mudokka Nallah village. Not a single project-affected Chakma from Mudokka Nallah village was invited. If the government officials like the EAC of Diyun violate the Covid-19 protocol, how could the general public be expected to respect the Covid-19 protocols? This is a fit case of appropriate actions by the chief secretary and the NHRC in public health interest,” Chakma said.

The CDFI urged the NHRC to direct the Arunachal government, the petroleum & gas ministry and the OIL to pay compensation to the projected-affected families “in full compliance with the LARR Act.”