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NHRC directs MHA and Arunachal govt to protect human rights of Chakma and Hajongs against racial profiling and relocation

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Guwahati, Jan 25: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Arunachal Pradesh government to submit action taken report within six weeks against racial profiling and relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs from the State and directed both the authorities to “ensure that human rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs are protected by all the ways”.

In its complaint, CDFI requested urgent intervention of the NHRC against racial profiling of 65,000 Chakma and Hajong tribals of Arunachal Pradesh through illegal census which was scheduled to commence from 11.12.2021 for their deportation/ expulsion/ relocation from the State.

Out of the 65,000 Chakmas and Hajongs, about 60,500 are citizens by birth, thousands casting votes while citizenship applications of 4,000 migrants are yet to be processed. The NHRC had approached the Supreme Court of India to protect the lives and liberties of the Chakmas and Hajongs in October 1995. On 9th January 1996, the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment in the case of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Vs State of Arunachal Pradesh by declaring the Chakmas and Hajongs as citizens and directing the Government of India and the State of Arunachal Pradesh to process their citizenship applications.

As the matter was not sorted out, another petition was filed by the ‘Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh’ (Committee for C.R. of C.A.P.) seeking implementation of the Supreme judgment of 9th January 1996.

On 17.09.2015, the Supreme Court once again pronounced its judgment in Committee for C.R. of C.A.P. & Ors vs State Of Arunachal Pradesh & Ors directing the Government of India and the State of Arunachal Pradesh to process their citizenship applications within three months. However, not a single application has been processed till date.

The complaint further stated that on 15th August 2021, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu announced that the Chakmas and Hajongs would be relocated outside of the State and it was confirmed by the sitting Law Minister of India, Kiren Rijiju.

Furthermore, in order to implement the said plan, on 26.11.2021, the Deputy Commissioner of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh notified that “Census of Chakmas and Hajongs 2021” be conducted in all the Chakma/Hajong inhabited areas under his jurisdiction for report to the Government on or before 31st December 2021, which is an act of racial profiling.

“The recent measures being taken by the State of Arunachal Pradesh with respect to the Chakmas and Hajongs are absolutely contrary to the laws of the land and judgments pronounced by the Supreme Court on their rights. Instead of complying with the Supreme Court judgments, the State government had initiated their racial profiling while the Union Law Minister had been repeatedly advocating their forcible relocation. The NHRC’s order is a significant step to bury such unlawful measures and further, the direction to both the Ministry of Home Affairs and the State of Arunachal Pradesh to protect human rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs by all the ways is an absolute necessity,” stated Suhas Chakma, Founder of the CDFI and the complainant.

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