News & Information From Northeast India

Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue: Protests turn violent in Arunachal

Protests against Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue led to violence in several parts of Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday. Normal life came to a halt in several areas of Arunachal Pradesh following a dawn-to-dusk statewide bandh called by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).

In Itanagar, protesters damaged several vehicles including torching a state transport bus and a private vehicle during morning hours, SP Sagar Singh Kalsi said. Reports of violence were also pouring in from Namsai, Changlang and several other districts, PTI reported.

All government offices, educational institutions, markets and commercial establishments remained closed in various parts of the Northeast state while public and private transport remained off roads. Though a few state transport buses were seen plying during the morning hours, the services were suspended later.

The AAPSU has called the bandh in protest against the recent decision to grant citizenship to the Chakma and the Hajong refugees in the state.

Meanwhile, Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said that the Centre will move the Supreme Court to seek modification of its order to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees.

The minister of state for home told reporters in New Delhi that the Supreme Court would be apprised of the “ground reality” on the matter.

“The ground reality is that the Chakmas and Hajongs have entered settlement camps in Arunachal Pradesh illegally in large numbers. If the small original Chakma population is given status of Arunachal tribals or as indigenous (people) of Arunachal Pradesh, it will (cause) imbalance in the social and demographic structure of the state,” he said.

“We have to impress upon the Supreme Court to understand the reality that it is not easy to implement its order because of the complexity of the situation,” Rijiju said.

The minister said since he was an MP from Arunachal Pradesh he had to “stand for his people”.

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