ITANAGAR, Nov 10 - In the wake of the Supreme Court�s September 17 verdict that the Chakmas and Hajongs who migrated to India during 1964-69 and settled in Arunachal Pradesh be granted citizenship within three months, a high- level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by his deputy (MoS for Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju, Union Home Secretary and top officials of the Government of India was held in New Delhi today to discuss the apex court order.
�The Union Home Ministry has taken serious cognizance of the Supreme Court ruling,� said a press release from MoS Rijiju�s office here.
Asserting that the SC decision �has to be responded with proper consideration keeping in mind the historical facts and backgrounds�, the Ministry decided �to make necessary appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure that constitutional and indigenous rights of the people of Arunachal Pradesh are protected,� it said, adding, �necessary inputs will also be obtained from the Arunachal Pradesh Government while making an appeal in the Supreme Court.�
It was also decided that the Home Ministry will also take necessary steps to ensure providing proper status to the Chakmas and Hajongs, but without infringement on rights of the people of Arunachal Pradesh and to honour the sentiments of the local people.
It was observed that proper administrative records have not been maintained about the exact number of Chakmas and Hajongs (settled in Arunachal since 1964) by the State Government nor the extent of total land encroachment (by refugees as alleged), the release said.
The SC verdict asking the Centre and Arunachal Government to confer citizenship on the Chakma and Hajong refugees has already triggered strong opposition by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students� Union (AAPSU), already staging protest rallies in New Delhi and Itanagar.
The State Government and the AAPSU have, however, already filed review petitions separately in the apex court against its September 17 verdict.
A major apprehension of the AAPSU is that once granted citizenship and settlement rights, the Chakmas and Hajongs would one day outnumber the indigenous tribal communities, apart from taking away all opportunities currently available to them.
The Chakmas and Hajongs had fled from erstwhile East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) after being displaced on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated in Changlang in erstwhile NEFA under the decision of the Government of India.