Chakma body moves Union Home minister over alleged atrocities in Northeast states

The Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), a New Delhi-based body for the northeast tribe, had on Friday sought Union Home Minister Amit Shah‘s intervention alleging repressions on its people settled in four states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, and Mizoram.

The CDFI in the memorandum that it submitted to Shah had cautioned against the “Growing alienation of the Chakmas from the Bharatiya Janata Party as a result of repression on them in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, and Mizoram”.

In order to draw the Union Minister’s notice, Suhas Chakma, founder of the organisation, said that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu in his Independence Day address had proposed to relocate Chakmas and Hajongs 60-years after their permanent settlement.

About 50,000 Chakmas, an ethnic group of eastern India and Bangladesh, and Myanmar — were rehabilitated in Arunachal Pradesh back in 1964 after their villages in the Rangamati district of Bangladesh were flooded by the Kaptai river after a dam over it was built.

Suhas further added that over 110 Chakma tribal families at Thedongnala under Lumding Circle in Hojai District of Assam were “illegally evicted” during an eviction drive since November 8 despite the Chakmas being inhabitants of the area for over 40 years.

The Tripura government has directed the officials on August 2 to conduct an investigation into alleged influx of only Chakmas as alleged foreigners despite more influx from the other communities, CDFI said adding that Scheduled Tribes status from the Chakmas had been snatched in Mizoram as non-Mizo people under the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 by allocating only one per cent of the seats for the Chakmas in higher technical education.

“These are some instances as part of the nation-wide repression on 2,25,000 Chakmas in India as per 2011 census,” Suhas Chakma said.

He said: “If the repression on the Chakmas continues unabated and corrective remedial measures are not taken, growing alienation of the Chakmas has the potential to impact on the electoral outcomes in the forthcoming Tripura Assembly elections (2023) against the BJP.

Out of the 20 reserved Assembly seats for the Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, the Chakmas are dominant and deciding factors in seven Assembly constituencies.”

As remedial measures, the CDFI urged the Home Minister to ask the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu to issue an official statement rejecting the proposed illegal and unconstitutional relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs.

The organisation requested Shah also to ask Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma to immediately provide rehabilitation and resettlement to all the Chakma families as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to either stop the investigation into the Chakmas only as alleged foreigners or inquire into all foreigners irrespective of caste, ethnic origin or religion.

“The Home Minister can ask Mizoram Governor to examine the constitutionality of the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 especially in the light of the court judgment in a PIL in 2016 and issue necessary directions to the state government to withdraw the unconstitutional rules,” the CDFI memorandum said.

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