June 17, 2024

Refugee row: Khandu calls all-party meet

TAP | Updated: June 6, 2017

ITANAGAR, Jun 06: Chief Minister Pema Khandu has convened an all-party meeting to discuss the issue relating to granting of citizenship to Chakma and Hajongs.

The meeting has been scheduled on June 19 at 10 am in the chief minister’s conference hall, a CMO report said.

The meeting is expected to be attended by representatives of all political parties for discussing at length all the relevant issues pertaining to granting of citizenship rights to Chakmas and Hajongs so as to arrive at a consensus.

The cabinet meeting held on August 24 last year had decided to hold an all-party meeting on the issue, the report added.

The development came after All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Monday threatened to launch an indefinite democratic agitation against the state government if it failed to convene the all-party meet by June 10.

The AAPSU had on May 27 resolved that all the 59 MLAs and three MPs of the state “must attend” the meeting.

The apex students’ body submitted a memorandum to Khandu on May 29, asking him to convene the meeting on the citizenship issue on or before June 10.

The AAPSU has been spearheading the movement against the Chakmas and Hajongs since 1990. It fears that citizenship to the refugees would reduce the indigenous tribal communities to a minority and rob them of the opportunities they enjoy.

Chakmas and Hajongs entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). While some stayed back with the Chakmas already in the district, the Indian government moved a majority of them to the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh.

In 2015, the Supreme Court gave the Centre a deadline to confer citizenship to these refugees within three months. The Arunachal government then had challenged the apex court’s order in vain.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had also recently raised the citizenship issue at a meet chaired by Singh.