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All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) in a press statement stated that Chakmas shall challenge constitutional validity of the Citizenship Act, 2019 including exemptions given to ILP states as “the exemptions given are unconstitutional as the Supreme Court of India in the case of the National Human Rights Commission vs State of Arunachal Pradesh and on the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh held that Inner Line Regulation does not apply for submitting citizenship applications.

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“The Review Petition in the said case was dismissed by the court and the judgment has become the law of the land,” stated Suhas Chakma, Advisor to the AICSF.

“There is no provision in the Constitution of India to exempt certain states from the Citizenship Act and India’s laws did not apply only to erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir as it had separate constitutional provision under Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution, which have since been repealed on August 5,” Chakma said.

The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 exclusively deals with protection of the natives of the areas defined with respect to “any rubber, wax, ivory or other jungle-product, (or any book, diary, manuscript, map, picture, photograph, film, curio or article of religious or scientific interest)” as per Section 5 of the Regulation and “acquiring any interest in land or the product of land beyond the said “Inner Line” area as per Clause 7 and therefore, the same cannot be extended to citizenship.

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The AICSF also questioned as to why if exemption has been given to Sixth Schedule Areas why the same cannot be extended to Fifth Schedule areas? In fact, if despite entire Manipur not being tribal areas can be declared as Inner Line Area, Assam and Tripura too can be fully covered.

“The entire exemption under Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 2019 is unconstitutional because it is manifestly arbitrary, capricious, irrational or without adequate determining principle as enunciated by the Supreme Court in the case of Hindustan Construction Company Limited vs Union of India on November 27,” Chakma added.

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