National / World

Rohingyas illegal, refugees Chakmas and Hajongs to get Indian citizenship

New Delhi, Sep 13 (PTI): The Centre will soon grant citizenship to nearly one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees, who came from the erstwhile East Pakistan five decades ago and are living in camps in the Northeast, officials said on Wednesday.

The Chakma-Hajong refugee issue was discussed threadbare on Wednesday at a high level meeting convened by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval among others.

In 2015, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh.

"The Supreme Court order on Chakmas and Hajongs was discussed in the meeting. We need to implement the order as early as possible," a home ministry official said.

Several organisations and civil society in Arunachal Pradesh have been opposing citizenship to the refugees saying it would change the demography of the state.

The Centre is trying to find a workable solution to the issue by proposing that Chakma and Hajong refugees will not be given rights, including ownership of land, enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, the official said.

However, they may be given Inner Line permits, required for non-locals in Arunachal Pradesh to travel and work.

Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the erstwhile East Pakistan. They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.

The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram).

The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.

According to officials, their numbers have gone up from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to one lakh.

At present, they don't have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government.

The Arunachal Pradesh government approached the apex court to review its 2015 order but in vain. After the Supreme Court's rejection, both the Central and state governments started consultations to find a solution to the issue.

The initiative on the Chakma and Hajong refugees comes amid the ongoing row over the Central government's plans to deport Rohingya Muslims, who came to India due to alleged persecution in Myanmar.

Rijiju, who belongs to Arunachal Pradesh, has said Rohingyas were illegal immigrants. He also said that India absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.

On Monday, in Geneva, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein flayed any attempts by India to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar when the ethnic minority community was facing violence in their country.

Comment on this article

  • Don, Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    A majority of the so called refugees are economic migrants, and they speak Bengali. I was watching BBC when this was verified when Shaikha Hasina went to the refugee camps and was speaking to the "refugees" in Bengali.

    For several years many thousands and thousands of Bangladeshis are settling in India and in Burma now they are tryin get Indian nationality. As Bangladesh was one time part of Pakistan all these people should be deported back to their country of origin.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Krishna Dasa, Udupi,

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    Mr. Don,
    What about deporting Indian migrent workers back to India from Middle east, Africa, South east Asia, Europe, Americas & Ociana.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • RSRB, Kundapur/Singapur

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    Krishna Dasa, Udupi

    Those coutries will suffer without Indian workers..
    They never think to do so in their dreams also..

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Don, Mangalore

    Fri, Sep 15 2017

    RSRB, Kundapur/Singapur

    You are absolutely right. Krishna Dasa, Udupi

    Most Indians in the Middle East are expatriates. A majority of Indians in the ME are working as menial labour for the lowest wage in subservient conditions. No one, I repeat not one country on this planet would have their citizens work at such low, low wages, away from their family and in deplorable housings. I seen things for myself.

    The rest of the countries you have mentioned Indians went as landed immigrants and today they are citizens of those countries. Unlike like Bangladeshis (Pakistanis) who did not want to live with the rest of Indians. They fought for their land and achieved full Independence. If they wish to stay in India now, there are visa and other requirements which they should obtain but they did not go through the process and hence they are illegal immigrants and should be deported back to their countries of origin.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Report Abuse

  • leslie, udupi

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    Any country will not eliminate hapless humans...
    There can be no fire without smoke...
    These people must have acted against the state...
    We know how it is in our neighborhood too...
    Rohingyas have something wrong somewhere...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinayak Prabhu, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    Correct move by government

    DisAgree [7] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • IGNACE, orissa

    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    crime against humanity has prevailed from a decade in mayanmar and now it has peaked out.. at least for present situation thinking of deporting Rohingyas muslim living in india means facing world criticism.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    Citizenship is being granted to them after five decades of struggle and misery.
    ROHINGYAS are responsible for attacks on Myanmar army and destabilizing a country.
    Hope some intellectuals understand the difference -

    DisAgree [7] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Karthik Karkera, Maryhill Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    Yeah, and Europe has already paid heavy price for showing humanity and accepting refugees from Syria, Yemen etc, So India should not do the same mistake

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Swamy, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    BJP and Mohan Bhagwat can produce and verify caste certificate from those refugees to prove they are Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims???????.....

    DisAgree [12] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • H . Dsouza, KODAGU / MANGALURU

    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    True! Last week some of u were in Roads!,,😁

    DisAgree [5] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Sep 13 2017

    Indian Citizens will now come on the Roads ...

    DisAgree [9] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Rohingyas illegal, refugees Chakmas and Hajongs to get Indian citizenship


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