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PPA wants concrete policy on Chakma-Hajong refugees

Itanagar, September 22 (PTI): The People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) has called upon the BJP government in the state to come out with clear policies on the Chakma-Hajong refugee issue.


The PPA suggested that the state government should hold a referendum of all legislators, MPs, representatives of various political parties, civil societies and student organisations to draw a concrete strategy to unitedly tackle the sensitive issue.


"There has to be a policy based on legislation within the framework of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873," the PPA said in a statement on Friday.


The Act is a regulation for peace in certain districts on the eastern frontier of Bengal.


Pointing out that regional political parties could also safeguard the interest and sanctity of indigenous tribal communities, the PPA said that Assam, Mizoram, and Tripura, in particular, are suffering socio-economically and politically, by accommodating the refugees.


Referring to the 2015 order of the Supreme Court to grant citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh, the PPA said, "It is not implementable".


Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had on 17 September said the Centre will urge the Supreme Court to "modify" its order of granting citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees so that rights of indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh are not diluted.


The minister's remarks, however, came days after he stated that a "middle ground" would be chosen so that the 2015 Supreme Court order can be honoured and the rights of the local population are not diluted.


"The recent statement of Kiren Rijiju is contradictory to his earlier statements on the issue," PPA secretary-general Kaling Jerang said in the statement.


The Union home ministry's decision to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees in North East has evoked resentment in the state.


The All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) had called for a state-wide bandh in protest against the Centre's move, on 19 September, which was marred by violence.