Guwahati, Nov. 27: The Asian Centre for Human Rights said it's not the Chakmas and Hajongs but other non-tribal communities who pose a bigger threat to the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh.
A report of the centre that was released yesterday said the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh who had migrated from erstwhile East Pakistan during 1964 to 1968 do not pose any threat to the indigenous peoples of the state. It said the issue of Chakmas and Hajongs posing a threat has come to spotlight following the Supreme Court's September 17 judgment this year.
The court directed the Centre and state government to implement its January 9, 1996, judgment and process the citizenship applications of the two communities within three months. The judgment has again brought into focus the allegations of some student organisations and civil society group leaders of the state that the significant growth of the Chakma/Hajong migrants poses a threat to the indigenous people.
The Arunachal Pradesh government filed a review petition challenging the judgment but it was dismissed by the court.
The report said the population of Chakmas and Hajongs was 14,888 during 1964-69 which has increased to 47,471 till 2011, which means a 218 per cent increase in 47 years. "In comparison, the population of other non-tribal communities such as Adivasis, Assamese, Nepalese, Muslims, Marwaris and Biharis has increased in the state by 955 per cent during the same period," it said.
"If population growth was to pose a threat to the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh, Chakmas/Hajongs surely do not pose a threat. It is the non-Chakma/Hajong communities whose population have been increasing rapidly. A total of 47,471 Chakmas and Hajongs cannot pose a threat to 13,83,727 persons of the state," said Suhas Chakma, the director of ACHR.
The report said Chakmas and Hajongs are minorities in the three districts and four Assembly constituencies in which they have settled.
Chakmas are now settled in Namsai, Papumpare and Changlang districts while Hajongs are settled only in Changlang district of the state. "The total population of Chakmas in India according to the 2011 census was 2,26,860 persons, with 96,972 persons in Mizoram, 79,813 in Tripura, 2,032 in Assam, 466 in West Bengal, 106 in Meghalaya and 47,471 in Arunachal Pradesh. As the Chakmas are recognised as Scheduled Tribes in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, there is no reason for the Chakmas from these states to migrate to Arunachal Pradesh where they do not enjoy Scheduled Tribe status," Chakma said.
The report said the possibility of increasing non-Chakma/Hajong population in Arunachal Pradesh is more because of the increasing tea industry and infrastructure projects. "The Chakmas/Hajongs have been seen as a threat simply because they migrated in a group even if other general populations already constitute a far more serious threat, if any, to indigenous population of the state. The Chakmas/Hajongs shared excellent relations with the neighbours," said the report.
"At the same time, there is no doubt that since the Supreme Court judgment in 1996, successive governments of Arunachal Pradesh, a number of leaders of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union and local civil society leaders have gradually shown a willingness to understand and appreciate the plight of the Chakmas/Hajongs," it said.