Apang rules out Chakma compromise

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 11.08.03

Guwahati, Aug. 11: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang today made it clear that his government would not back the Centre’s move to grant citizenship to Chakma refugees settled in the state.

“We cannot compromise on the issue,” he told a press conference here, meaning that his government would not process the citizenship applications of the Chakmas for inclusion in the revised electoral rolls.

New Delhi had forwarded a set of citizenship applications to the state government for processing. But the Mukut Mithi government had refused to process the applications, saying that any move to grant citizenship status to the Chakmas would create serious trouble in the state.

The long-drawn Chakma refugee problem in the state took a new turn following an Election Commission directive to include the names of Chakmas born in India in the revised electoral rolls. This had sparked angry protests in Arunachal Pradesh.

Apang, however, did not envisage the possibility of any stand-off between his United Democratic Front coalition — which is a part of the National Democratic Alliance — and the Centre on the issue. “I think they (the Centre) will understand our position,” he said.

On the recent intrusion by the Chinese army in Arunachal Pradesh, Apang suggested that there should be more frequent exchange of information between the state and central intelligence agencies.

He also wanted the state to be given more responsibility in border management.

“They (New Delhi) should take us into confidence. The state government should be made a party in managing the border,” he added.

On the presence of NSCN camps in Tirap and Changlang districts, he said the issue was blown out of proportion.