CRDO Delegation meets Hon’ble Deputy CM, Shri Chowna Mein

A 10-member Chakma delegation led by President, CRDO met Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Chowna Mein ji on 27th January 2020 at the latter’s residence cum office to discuss about the long pending issues and problems being faced by Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh and to find an amicable solution.

It has been the vision and endeavor of CRDO leadership that the issue can be brought to closure and a sustainable permanent resolution can be achieved only through mutual discussions with the local leaders with an open mind and heart based on truth, non-violence and peaceful co-existence.

CRDO delegation with the Hon'ble DCM, AP Shri Chowna Mein
CRDO delegation with the Hon’ble DCM, AP Shri Chowna Mein

Several misconceptions and myths circulating around regarding the Chakma tribals were discussed threadbare and the Deputy CM after a long 40-minute open discussion has assured the delegation to take up the matter with the highest level for resolution.

The issue of Kathan Area dispute came up for discussion and it has been clarified that the issue is a chronic one and it is pending resolution since 1980s and the matter is now with the Deputy commissioner of Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Citing the example of Tripura and Assam where the indigenous population has been swamped by outsider population, the Deputy CM said that such fears are genuine, and the problem of fresh Chakma influx must be addressed.  To this, the CRDO leadership maintained that there’s no influx, least of all from Bangladesh because Arunachal Pradesh does not share any contiguous boundary with Bangladesh. Influx can happen mainly through a porous border – to say that someone will come 1200 kms from CHT to Arunachal Pradesh is a mis-propaganda fueled by some vested political interests especially when there are so many inner line gates and no incentive to come to AP as Chakmas are leading a life of non-existence.

Moreover, as per the white paper and census conducted by Government – which is the most reliable data source, the population of Chakmas and Hajongs increased from 14,888 during 1964-69 to 49,784 in 2011 yielding a compounded annualized growth rate of 2.6% which is LOWER than the state growth rate of 2.87%.  The population of state increased from 3.37 lakhs in 1961 to 13.84 lakhs in 2011, roughly increasing by 4x. 

As per the statement of Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Pema Khandu on the floor of state Assembly on 09th Jan 2020, the total population of Chakma and Hajong people as per a special survey conducted by the Deputy Commissioners of Changlang, Namsai and Papum Pare districts in 2015-16 stands at 65,875 only.

Another fallacy that got clarified was the comparison with Tibetan refugees who are a separate category altogether because they enjoy more rights and facilities than even Chakmas /citizens of India though they are considered as refugees / ‘honored guests’ under the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy. Not only do they share a contiguous border with AP but the Tibetans also have the blessing and support of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama – who is widely respected as a world spiritual leader whereas the Chakmas have no one to look up to and are like abandoned children.

The CRDO team expressed sincere gratitude to late Shri C.K Gohain, Shri Pisila Singpho and all local leaders and chiefs for understanding the pain and suffering and accepting/accommodating the Chakma refugees in the then NEFA during 1964-69. Without their support and the initiative of the Govt, the rehabilitation of the Chakmas and Hajongs would not have become a reality.