Members of the Chakmas and Hajong communities on August 6 demonstrated in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district against the denial of Residential Proof Certificates (RPC) to them as part of an alleged policy of the state government to evict them.
Held one week after the State government suspended the RPCs and decided not to issue anymore, allegedly in a bid to placate the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), a local Chakma leader alleged that this ‘nothing but a continuation of the racial profiling of the two communities.
"The Chakmas and Hajongs shall not accept Kangaroo justice where the complainant AAPSU has become the complainant, investigator, prosecutor and judge – all rolled into one. This is not something that should be allowed in a country governed by the rule of law,” said Krishna Chakma, spokesperson of the Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance, which led the sit-in protest.
“The first victim of the denial of the RPCs are job seekers who are students. They are citizens of India and often join recruitment in the army. The same is being denied through suspension of the RPCs as the recruitment drive into the Indian Army has started”, added Rup Singh Chakma, President of the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union (APCSU).
Sumangol Chakma, Convenor of the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Association, said “this is nothing but an attempt to deny existence of the Chakmas and Hajongs in the State and “rejected such blatant discrimination.”
Santosh Chakma, President of the Committee for Citizens’ Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh, condemning the ‘illegality’ of the situation, said that the AAPSU delegation entered the office of a senior government official in Diyun and took away the papers relating to the RPCs.
Instead of enforcing the rule of law, the State of Arunachal Pradesh awarded the AAPSU by including the complainants into the inquiry team. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Arunachal Pradesh” stated.
There are about 65,000 Chakmas and Hajongs in the State who fled from East Pakistan and were settled by the Government of India in the then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1964 to beef up security following the 1962 Indo-China war.
These individuals have accused the Arunachal Pradesh government of denying them citizenship in spite of the Supreme Court’s directions.
In 2021, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu had said that they should be re-settled outside the state and the scrapping of the residential certificates is seen as a move in this regard.
A 5-member enquiry team comprising Opak Gao (IAS), Hage Laliang (Arunachal Pradesh Civil Service), Likha Sampu (APCS), and two representatives of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) are currently visiting Diyun EAC following the government’s decision to revoke the RPCs.
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