Chakma, Hajong bodies urge AAPSU to call off proposed bandh, say issuance of residence certificates to Chakmas, Hajongs legal

ITANGAR, 30 Jul: The Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance (CHRA), the Chakma and Hajong Elders Forum, the Committee for Citizens’ Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh, the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union (APCSU) and the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Hajong Students’ Association (APCHSA) have urged the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) to call off its proposed bandh on 3 August.

“The AAPSU has threatened to enforce a 24-hour bandh from 3 August if the state government fails to meet its demand for cancellation of residence certificates issued to Chakmas and Hajongs and filing of cases against contractual staffer Robin Chakma, the Diyun EAC and the Changlang DC under the National Security Act,” the organisations stated in a joint press release on Saturday.

“The issuance of residence certificate to the Chakmas and Hajongs is absolutely legal. Under the Finance Act of 2020, any person staying in India for an aggregate period of 120 days

or more is an ordinarily resident. In fact, Form 6 of the Registration of Electors Rule, 1960 does not specify the time period to be included as an ordinary resident and voter under the Representation of People Act of 1950. All persons in India are required to be issued proof of residence and the same can be issued by any authority, whether EAC, MLA or local panchayat or municipal officers.

“Therefore, issuance of proof of residence certificate to the Chakmas and Hajongs is not illegal but compliance with the laws,” said CHRA spokesperson Krishna Chakma.

“Robin Chakma is a citizen of India and a contractual worker with the EAC office at Diyun. Any qualified citizen can be employed as a contractual worker. The case has arisen only because he is a Chakma. His ethnic origin must not be treated as a crime and he has not committed any crime,” APCSU vice president Bipin Roshan Chakma said.

“The deputy commissioner of Changlang and the EAC of Diyun have not committed any offence by issuing residence certificates to the Chakmas and Hajongs as per the laws of the land, or hiring qualified citizens as contractual workers,” APCHSA general secretary Rajesh Chakma stated.

“In the light of these facts that issuance of residence certificates to the Chakmas and Hajongs and hiring of any contractual worker are legal, there is no cause for either actions on these demands of the AAPSU or any bandh to press for these demands. We therefore urge the AAPSU to reconsider call off the demands and bandh,” Krishna Chakma added.

“The Chakmas and Hajongs have lived in Arunachal Pradesh for the last 60 years. NEFA/Arunachal Pradesh is the motherland of the 95 percent of the Chakmas and Hajongs who are born and brought up in the state. There is a need to end racial discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs and allow everybody to contribute towards development of the state,” the CHRA said.