Various janjati (tribal) organisations in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday strongly protested the cancellation of the Residential Proof Certificates (RPCs) issued to the Chakma and Hajong janjati communities by the state government.
Government officials refused to comment on the issue.
Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) founder and writer Suhas Chakma said that the Deputy Commissioner of Changlang district in an order on November 14, directed the local officials to cancel the RPCs and instead issue Temporary Settlement Certificates (TSCs).
“The action of the Arunachal Pradesh government on the RPC issue is a blatant violation of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The time has come for Prime Minister Modi to hold his Chief Ministers for such blatant violation of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” the ACDFI leader told the media.
Many other leaders of Chakma and Hajong communities severely condemned the district administration’s decision.
Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance (CHRA) Convenor Pritimoy Chakma said that the people belonging to Chakma and Hajong communities born in Arunachal Pradesh being issued TSCs is completely illegal and smacks of vindictiveness of the state based on racial grounds.
“A person who lives in an area for six months is issued an ordinary residence certificate across the country but in Arunachal Pradesh, after 60 years, the Chakmas and Hajongs who are citizens of India are being issued TSCs,” he said.
Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union President Rup Singh Chakma said that the entire process started with illegality and ended with illegality. He said that on July 18, the AAPSU submitted a charter of demands to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu including on cancellation of the RPCs and booking the officials and local MLA under the National Security Act.
Committee for Citizens’ Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh President Santosh Chakma said that the entire process of cancellation of the RPCs shows that Arunachal Pradesh is not governed by the rule of law of the country.
There are about 65,000 people belonging to Chakma and Hajong community in Arunachal Pradesh who fled from then East Pakistan and were settled by the Central government in the then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1964 to improve security following the 1962 Indo-China war. The Chakma are predominantly Buddhist and Hajong are mostly Hindus.
The total population of Arunachal Pradesh as per Census 2011 is 13.8 lakhs, with Christians constituting the majority at 30.26% of total population. Hindus at 29%, Other Religions (mostly Donyi-Polo indigenous faith followers) at 26.2% and Buddhists at 11.7% constitute the other major religious groups.
Also, Christians are the fastest growing demography in the state (their numbers have more than doubled in the last two censuses) and their penetration in the ST (Scheduled Tribe) population is very high as this article analyzes. By now, their share of the population would be much higher.
What is happening in Arunachal Pradesh is not unique. All over the North East, whenever a state turns Christian majority, we see increasing hostility towards non-Christians, especially Hindus, and ‘outsiders’ (i.e. Bharatiyas from outside the NE region).
(With IANS inputs)