Arunachal Pradesh

Talks on refugees on Friday

Itanagar: The fifth meeting of the MHA-constituted joint high-powered committee (JHPC) to find a solution to the Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue is scheduled to be held here on April 27.

The fourth meeting of the JHPC held in Delhi on January 4 was a follow-up of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) demand at the all-party meeting held here on June 19 last year for an early solution to the Chakma and Hajong refugees settled in Arunachal. This meeting had assured that the next (fifth) meeting will be held in February.

Friday’s meeting will be attended by MHA joint secretary (foreigners), Anil Malik, executive members of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) and its legal advisers, representatives from the Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh and the state government.

AAPSU has welcomed the meeting.

Nepha Wangsa, the deputy spokesperson for the union, hoped for the participation of all stakeholders, deputy commissioners and principal chief conservator of forest from the department of forests.
AAPSU has made it clear to the Centre that the people of the state would not accept giving citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees at any cost.

Chief minister Pema Khandu had moved the Union home ministry to revive the joint high-powered committee on the Chakma and Hajong refugees’ issue in a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh on September 18.

Khandu had said the matter was of deep emotional concern and Arunachal Pradesh was not ready to accept any infringement of the constitutional protection given to the state’s tribals.

Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan, who left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.

The Supreme Court in 2015 had directed the Centre as well as the state government to grant citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs within three months.

Following the order of the Supreme Court, the central government had last year decided to grant citizenship to the refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh. The decision had drawn flak from several quarters of the state as several organisations and civil societies in Arunachal Pradesh have already been opposing the Centre’s decision, saying it would change the demography of the state.

Source: The Telegraph

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