Arunachal Pradesh: AAPSU threatens agitation over Chakma and Hajong refugee citizenship

Arunachal Pradesh: AAPSU threatens agitation over Chakma and Hajong refugee citizenship

Itanagar, June 6: The All Arunachal Students' Union (Aapsu) has threatened to launch an "indefinite democratic agitation" on the state government's stand on the Centre's decision to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees if the government fails to convene an all-party meet on the matter by June 10.

The student body had on May 27 resolved to hold the all-party meeting on the matter, that all 59 MLAs and three MPs of the state "must attend". It then submitted a memorandum regarding this to chief minister Pema Khandu, setting a June 10 deadline. Citizenship for Chakmas and Hajongs, who had to leave Bangladesh in the 1960s after the lands they inhabited were submerged by the waters of the Kaptai dam, has been a contentious issue in the state. The student body has spearheaded the movement against citizenship for the refugees since 1990, saying that it would reduce indigenous tribal communities to a minority.

"Almost seven days have passed and yet the government has not responded. The government's attitude on such a major issue is not acceptable," Aapsu president Hawa Bagang said. "If the government does not summon a meeting or if the MLAs and MPs fail to attend it, then they will have to face the consequences," he added. Bagang has been able to garner support from all district students' unions in the state on the matter. "The Centre should understand that Arunachalees are peace-loving and the Centre should let us remain so. We don't want that day to come when we will be compelled to ask the government to choose between us and the refugees," he said.

Echoing Bagang's statement, Aapsu general secretary Tobom Dai said, "We have had enough of submitting memoranda and representations to the Centre and the state government, and getting mere assurances on the citizenship issue. The Centre has turned Arunachal into a dumping ground and we will no longer accept this."

Government spokesperson Bamang Felix, however, said the state government has not received any communication from the union.

Source: The Times of India

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