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Current Affairs

Racial profiling of Chakmas and Hajongs

Date: 28 January 2022 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The government of Arunachal Pradesh is conducting a special census in all Chakma and Hajong-inhabited areas of the state.

 

Background

Many north-eastern states are not comfortable about outsiders outnumbering the indigenous communities.

 

Details

  • Chakmas (Buddhists) and Hajongs (Hindus) are communities that inhabit the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and adjoining areas of Assam.

  • These groups migrated from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh) after the construction of Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River in the 1960s.

  • After seeking asylum in India, they were settled in relief camps in the southern and south-eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh from 1964 to 1969.

 

The census controversy

  • The government had directed officials of Changlang district to conduct census in Chakma and Hajong-inhabited areas.

  • The plans were dropped after the Chakma Development Foundation of India petitioned the Prime Minister’s Office and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief.

  • They also say that racial profiling violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India and Article 1 of the International Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination ratified by India.

  • The state government has promised to resolve issue between indigenous communities and Chakma-Hajongs by rehabilitating them in other states.

 

Issue of rehabilitation

  • The Supreme Court in 1996 had directed the Central and State governments to process their citizenship and prohibited their eviction.

  • A similar order in 2015 pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh cannot expect other States to share its burden of migrants.

 

Current citizenship status

  • They have been permanently rehabilitated in the state by allotting land and provided with financial aid depending on the size of their families. 

  • Majority of the population were born in India and are citizens of the country under Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

  • The Inner Line Permit mandatory for outsiders under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 does not apply to them.