The Centre's plans to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees in Arunachal Pradesh are facing resistance from the local indigenous residents, who are averse to any infringement on the constitutional protection bestowed on them.
The state chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday reiterated concerns of locals in a letter to Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh.
“As mentioned by me in our meeting recently, I reiterate that the people of my state are not ready to accept any infringement on the constitutional protection bestowed on the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh and want to ensure that the ethnic composition and the special rights enjoyed by the tribes of my state are safeguarded at all cost,” Khandu said.
The MHA had last week cleared the decks for citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees of East Pakistan origin on the basis of a Supreme Court directive.
Khandu, who wrote to Singh a day ahead of a statewide bandh called by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), also described the matter as one “of deep emotional concern”.
He solicited the minister’s support in protecting tribal rights and securing the sanctity of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Arunachal Pradesh.
Khandu also pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh had a unique history and was governed by a special Act namely the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, which provides for an Inner Line Permit.
“Section 2 of this Regulation prohibits all citizens of India or any class of such citizens from going beyond the Inner Line without a pass issued under the hand and seal of the CEO of such district or an officer authorised for such function,” he said.