Govt to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees


The Centre will grant citizenship to all Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the Northeast but without diluting ST status and rights of indigenous people. The issue of Chakma-Hajong refugee came up for discussion at a high level meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Several organisations and civil society in Arunachal Pradesh have been opposing citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees saying it would change the demography of the state.

Chakmas are settled in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964. Chakmas and Hajongs were inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). They had to flee when their land was submerged by the Kaptai dam in the 1960s. The Chakmas, who are Buddhist, and Hajongs, who are Hindus, also faced religious persecution in East Pakistan.