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Rights Body Sends Notice To Arunachal, Centre Over Racial Profiling Of Tribals

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) acted upon the complaint filed by the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), alleging racial discrimination against 65,000 tribals belonging to Chakmas and Hajong tribes.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent notices to the Union Home Ministry and the Arunachal Pradesh government on racial profiling of the Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajong tribes, and the issue of their relocation from the state.

The governments have been asked to ensure the protection of the two communities and submit a report within six weeks of sending the notices.

Racial Discrimination Against 65,000 Tribals

The commission acted upon the complaint filed by the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), alleging discrimination against 65,000 tribals, of which, 60,500 are citizens by birth and cast votes, NDTV reported. Apart from them, about 4,000 people are still waiting for the acceptance of their citizenship applications.

Following this, NHRC's Deputy Registrar, KK Shrivastava, on Monday, January 24, wrote a letter to the Union Home Secretary and Chief Secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh government.

The Dispute Of Decades

The Chakmas and Hajongs are ethnic people who lived in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The former are predominantly Buddhists, while the latter are Hindus and reside in most parts of northeast India, after migrating from Bangladesh in 1964-69.

Supreme Court Rules Citizenship

In October 1995, the rights body had approached the Supreme Court, seeking protection of the rights and liberties of the two communities. A year later, on January 9, 1996, the apex court ruled Chakma and Hajong people as citizens of India and directed the government to process their citizenship applications.

However, despite the top court's order, no application approvals were to be seen. The Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakma of Arunachal Pradesh had filed a petition seeking the implementation of the 1996 judgement.

In 2015, the Supreme Court again directed the Centre to grant citizenship to the tribes, but the situation remains the same.

Relocating Tribals

In August 2021, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had announced the relocation of the tribals outside the state. His statement was advocated by Law and Justice Minister Kiran Rijiju. The minister had warned the Chakma and Hajong people that they would not be allowed to subsist or live in Arunachal Pradesh.

Also Read: UP Police Barge In Lodge, Track Students Protesting Against Railways Recruitment; Cops Allege Ruckus

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