Citizenship Bill and Chakma and Hajong Communities

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:30 AM

Citizenship Bill and Chakma and Hajong Communities

Background Context

There was the boycott by the locals from Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh against the controversial “Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016”, which plans to grant legal resident status to Chakma and Hajong refugees.

What’s the issue of Chakma and Hajong Communities?

The “Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016” aims to avail citizenship to six communities that are considered to be minorities ( Buddhist, Hindu, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians) that are without any valid document with them from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This requires consecutive six years of stay in India. The local of Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh are heavily concerned about the citizenship being offered to Chakma and Hajong refugees.

Who are Chakma and Hajong Refugees?***

These tribes were the resident of the Chittagong Hills of Bangladesh (former East Pakistan). It is believed that they left their homeland resident, during the 1960’s era at the time of when it was submerged at the time of Kaptai Dam Project.

The Charmas Community belong to the “Buddhist religion” and the other tribe name Hajongs belong to the “Hindu Community”, both these communities faced the religious persecution in East Pakistan and decided to enter India through the route of then Lushai Hills in state of Assam (now Mizoram). The centre decided to move major population of these migrant refugees to the **North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.

The number of these refugees were “5000 (five thousand)” during the period 1964-69 and now this number has reached to the staggering “100000 (one hundred thousand/one lakhs)”. Currently they are into very vulnerable situation and they don’t have the citizenship or any land rights in India, but they are provided with basic necessities by the state government.

Important Links (External)

  1. Citizenship Bill: Chakma and Hajong Communities in a Spot - The Hindu.
  2. Chakma and Hajong refugees - India’s New Citizens - Times of India.
  3. One lakh Chakmas and Hajong tribals from Bangladesh conferred Indian citizenship rights.