The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has cautioned the government not to undermine the power of the people.

Addressing a press meet, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said it is duty of every single indigenous tribesman to fight against the centre’s decision to grant citizenship right to Chakma-Hajong refugees living in Arunachal and said that refugee issue is a people’s movement.

Calling on all indigenous people of the state to rise against the unwanted dumping of refugees in the state and join the Union in its bandh call on September 19, AAPSU warned the government that “troubled times are ahead if things are not to our liking.”

The Arunachal Times on Saturday reported that the AAPSU legal team on Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue launched a counter attack and asserted that the Supreme Court did not issue directives to the government to grant citizenship status to the refugees. In a press briefing on Friday, AAPSU legal advisor Marto Kato said that the September 17, 2015 order passed by the Supreme Court does not grant citizenship status to the Chakmas and Hajongs, but instead asks the central and state governments to finalise the conferment of citizenship to eligible Chakmas and Hajongs.

The Supreme Court order reads, “…we allow this petition and direct the Government of India and the state of Arunachal Pradesh to finalise the conferment of citizenship rights on eligible Chakmas and Hajongs and also to ensure compliance of directions in judicial decisions refereed to on earlier part of this order for protection of their life and liberty and against their discrimination in any manner…,” the report added.

Saying that the special review petition filed by the AAPSU is still pending before the Supreme Court, Kato said that it was not the business of the central and state governments to grant citizenship and termed it illegal.

In a Facebook post, Arunachal Pradesh MP and Union minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju appealed to the citizens of his state to not believe in rumours. “Please don’t believe the rumours of those who already sold Arunachal Pradesh to the refugees. I’m more responsible to stand for my people than others because I’m elected by the people. Fact is, ministry of home affairs has not granted citizenship to Chakmas but preparing papers to respond to Supreme Court which gave order to grant citizenship. Arunachal Pradesh govt has also rejected all the applications of the refugees so far,” the Union minister noted.

“Although the refugees have illegally increased their population and encroached large lands in last 50 years but now we won’t allow it as long as I’m there as MP  and minister. Unlike some people I never used refugee issue to become a leader but I’ve been elected by the people on the basis of my commitment to serve the people. CM Pema Khandu has also committed to MHA to ensure proper enumeration so that the illegal refugees will be checked. Hence I expect people to solidly stand behind me and the state govt to prevent the refugees from acquiring the status of native Arunachalees,” the minister, who represents the Arunachal West constituency in the Lok Sabha, added.

(With inputs from the Arunachal Times)

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