India to grant citizenship to 1 lakh Hindu, Buddhist refugees in Arunachal

Rohingya Muslims Are Illegal Immigrants, Have To Leave: MoS Home

GKNN
New Delhi, Publish Date: Sep 14 2017 12:20AM | Updated Date: Sep 14 2017 12:20AM
India to grant citizenship to 1 lakh Hindu, Buddhist refugees in ArunachalFile Photo

The Centre will soon grant citizenship to nearly one lakh Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajong refugees, who came from the erstwhile East Pakistan five decades ago and are living in camps in the Northeast, officials said today.

The Chakma-Hajong refugee issue was discussed threadbare today at a high level meeting convened by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval among others.

In 2015, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh.

"The Supreme Court order on Chakmas and Hajongs was discussed in the meeting. We need to implement the order as early as possible," a home ministry official said.

Several organisations and civil society in Arunachal Pradesh have been opposing citizenship to the refugees saying it would change the demography of the state.

The Centre is trying to find a workable solution to the issue by proposing that Chakma and Hajong refugees will not be given rights, including ownership of land, enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, the official said.

However, they may be given Inner Line permits, required for non-locals in Arunachal Pradesh to travel and work.

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

The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram).

The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.

The initiative on the Chakma and Hajong refugees comes amid the ongoing row over the Central government's plans to deport Rohingya Muslims, who came to India due to alleged persecution in Myanmar.

Rijiju, who belongs to Arunachal Pradesh, has said Rohingyas were illegal immigrants. He also said that India absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.

On Monday, in Geneva, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein flayed any attempts by India to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar when the ethnic minority community was facing violence in their country.

 

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