Chakma-Hajongs to be citizens without land ownership rights

After a long battle with the law, The Union Home Ministry cleared the citizenship for over one lakh Chakma-Hajongs, Buddhists, and Hindus, who fled to India in the 1960s.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh under the consideration that the Chakma-Hajongs fled to India to escape religious persecution in Chittagong Hill area of Bangladesh (the then undivided Pakistan).National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu were also present in the meeting.

Emerging from the meeting, Mr. Rijiju said, “Supreme Court order has to be honored. Chakmas are settled in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964. But Scheduled Tribe status and indigenous people’s right won’t be diluted.”

In 2015, the top court had asked the Centre to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajongs. Arunachal Pradesh government had earlier opposed the move and had said it would change the demography of the State.

A senior Home Ministry official said they would be granted citizenship but will not have any land ownership rights in Arunachal Pradesh, a predominantly tribal State.