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Citizenship Bill and Chakma and Hajong communities

Topics Covered:

  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  2. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  3. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


Citizenship Bill and Chakma and Hajong communities


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of Citizenship Bill, who are Chakma and Hajong communities and where do they reside?
  • For Mains: Issues associated with the Bill and why are locals protesting this bill?


Context: Locals in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are protesting against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 because it would serve as a legal basis for legitimising the claims of Chakma and Hajong refugees as the indigenous people of State.


What’s the issue?

The Citizenship Bill seeks to grant citizenship to six minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians — without valid documents from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of stay in India. Locals are concerned as this bill seeks to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees.


Who are they?

Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the erstwhile East Pakistan. They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.

The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Their numbers have gone up from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to one lakh. At present, they don’t have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: The proposed citizenship amendment Bill has polarised the Northeast. Critically examine.