Chakma, Hajong bodies stage rally to protest cancellation of RPC

DIYUN, 27 Nov: A Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising eight Chakma and Hajong community-based organisations, staged a peaceful rally here in Changlang district on Sunday, condemning the cancellation of issuing of resident proof certificates (RPC) to the Chakmas and Hajongs residing in the state, and demanding restoration of issuing of RPCs by 15 December.

“We strongly condemn the notification No POL/CH-2/2022-23/100, dated 4 November, 2022, issued by Political Joint Secretary Rajeev Takuk, cancelling all RPCs issued to the Chakma and Hajong people of Changlang district,” the JAC stated in a release.

“The impugned circular also provides for issue of temporary settlement certificates (TSC) in lieu of resident proof certificates as an alternative arrangement. This is a direct blow to the right of Chakma and Hajong people to join the defence forces and serve the nation, as well as hitting them below the belt, as it denies them the right to earn their livelihood,” it said.

Stating that replacing RPCs with TSCs “is like adding insult to injury to the sentiments of the Chakma-Hajong people,” it said that TSCs would “neither serve the purpose of residence proof for various educational purposes, nor will be admissible as proof for any employment/career-related opportunities.”

“It is also a blatant violation of the Delhi High Court’s judgement of 2000 (WP No 886 of 2000) that ruled Chakmas as citizens of India by birth and many of whom are voting as citizens of India and the Gauhati High Court’s order of 2013 (PIL No 52 of 2010) that categorically stated that the Chakmas and Hajongs don’t require any inner line permit,” the committee said.

The JAC claimed that issuing of TSCs “is a new category construct created by the state administration to appease the AAPSU and is in clear defiance of and violation to the aforesaid court order, malafide and discriminatory.”

“The recent suspension and then cancellation of the RPCs is another instance of denial and deprivation policy, the process of de-Indianisation that started in 1980, and must be stopped and the full-fledged rights of Chakmas and Hajong peoples immediately restored,” it said.

It added that “RPCs are a basic and yet mandatory document which Chakma and Hajong youth use solely for educational and job purposes. Denying RPCs is tantamount to depriving them of their basic human rights and jeopardizing their already fragile future.”

The committee demanded revocation of the notifications and restoration of issuing either RPCs or PRCs to the Chakmas and Hajongs “within 15 December, 2022,” and said that failing to do so would “escalate our democratic protest indefinitely in the form of hunger strike, bandh calls, non-cooperation, etc.”

The JAC comprises the Chakma Rights and Development Organisation; the Committee for Citizenship Rights of Chakma & Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh; the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Gaonburah Council; the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union; the Arunachal Pradesh Hajong Students Union; the Chakma Women Welfare Society; the Chakma National Council of India-AP; and the Rashtriya Chakma Tribal Sangha.