ITANAGAR, Sept 26 - In the wake of the Supreme Court�s recent verdict that the Chakmas and Hajongs residing in Arunachal Pradesh be conferred with citizenship rights, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has stressed that while the SC order has to be complied with but the rights of the indigenous people of the State also should not be overlooked.
Rijiju, also Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh, convened a meeting in the Ministry of Home Affairs to discuss the judgment of the Supreme Court in the CRCAP Vs State of Arunachal Pradesh case. He said, �The State government must defend and appeal before the Supreme Court effectively to protect the legal and demographic safeguards of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh,� according to a statement from the Union Minister�s office here on Wednesday.
The Apex Court had recently directed the Arunachal Pradesh and Union Governments to finalise the conferment of citizenship rights on the eligible Chakmas and Hajongs and also to ensure compliance of the direction within three months.
Rijiju has asked the Home Ministry�s NE Division to seek report from Arunachal Government to respond to the Supreme Court direction and to obtain the reports of State Level Core Committee headed by Secretary (Political), Government of Arunachal Pradesh in which AAPSU and other representatives are members.
The Minister also stated that while Chakmas and Hajongs faced great sufferings for a very long period of time and deserved citizenship status but their inclusion as Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes will dilute the constitutional safeguards of Arunachal indigenous people.
�It was historically wrong to settle them inside the territory of then NEFA (North East Frontier Agency), now Arunachal Pradesh, without the consent of the local people. There are other parts in the country where Chakmas and Hajongs are already having citizenship right and therefore, a mechanism must be worked out where Arunachal Pradesh do not take extra burden of the large numbers of Chakmas and Hajongs�, he added.
The apex student organisation of Arunachal, AAPSU, has already expressed its strong exception to the SC judgment and decided to take out a protest rally in Itanagar on September 28 next.