GUWAHATI, Sept 16 - Asking the BJP-led State government to learn a lesson from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh on the issue of protecting the rights of the indigenous people, senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika today warned that limited citizenship to Chakmas and Hajong refugees would have serious implications on Assam.
Though the Union government has stressed that it will ensure that the rights of indigenous people are not diluted due to this development, Hazarika said the burden of additional refugees would ultimately fall on Assam in future.
�The Union government has accepted a demand of the Arunachal government to grant these refugees limited citizenship rights, meaning these communities will have no rights upon land and other aspects in Arunachal, while they can enjoy such rights in other parts of India.
�Seeking incentives like owning land and enjoying other privileges availed by the Indian citizens, there is every possibility of these refugees migrating to Assam,� said Hazarika, who is also the convener of the Prabrajan Virodhi Manch, a forum against illegal migration in Assam.
He added that despite the fact that those refugees have been staying in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964 and the Supreme Court has ordered in favour of granting citizenship to the refugees, the Arunachal Pradesh government has been able to protect the rights of its indigenous people by pressing the Government of India to grant only limited citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees.
Taking a jibe at the Government of Assam, he said that the same BJP government is in power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and at the Centre, but due to the lack of courage in the State BJP leadership here, the Hindu Bangladeshis are being imposed upon Assam, totally against the will of the common people.
�Had the political leadership in Assam shown the same courage as the Arunachali leadership, the situation here would have been different,� he added.
Hazarika argued that one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees would add up to the already existing 80 lakh illegal Bangladeshi migrants, posing a serious threat to the existence of the indigenous people of Assam, which has already been threatened by the large-scale cross border influx.
The State government�s silence on the entire issue was also questioned, as Assam is unprepared to face the impending migration of new refugees.
�We needlessly blame the Central government, whereas the responsibility lies on our State leadership. They must take immediate steps to protect the indigenous people by reserving land, government employment, etc., only for those who were citizens of India and residents of Assam in 1951 and their progeny,� he added.