Are Chakmas of AP not indigenous people?

Indigenousness revolves around three important factors – primitiveness, vulnerability and time.  It’s a fact that once upon a time AP used to be vacant land. As time went by, people migrated there from China and Burma and thereby became native to AP and as well indigenous to AP. On the other hand, pre Partition, CHT was an integral part of India, therefore, Chakmas of AP have been indigenous to India since time immemorial. In fact, their migration to AP resurrected their indigenousness to India. To sum it up, the Chakmas have been native/indigenous to AP since the year 1964 , that is  for the last 54 years, while others have been native/indigenous to AP since time immemorial (probably for the last 200 years)

What are the issues and problems being faced by the Chakma & Hajongs in AP ?

There are innumerable issues and problems being faced by the Chakmas & Hajongs in AP at present :

1.  Citizens in theory (by birth) but no full citizenship rights in reality

2. No ST rights unlike many other fellow Chakmas in all other Indian states

3.  No proper school, no college. Most of the Government schools are running with staff shortages.

4. Regular floods washed away vast agricultural lands. Therefore many Chakma families became landless, therefore compelled to work as tenant farmers in Khampti/Singhpo areas.

5. Lack of job opportunities and hunger compelled many families to send their minor children to towns in AP and also in other states to work as domestic help. Many incidents of physical, verbal and sexual abuses were reported. Some cases of missing children who went for domestic help were reported too. Regular migration of youths to cities and towns doing odd jobs is taking place either because they could not continue formal education or being jobless.

6. Due to lack of job opportunities, sitting idle at home, many young children are getting addicted to drugs and alcohols abuse.

7.  No impartial Law and order being practised victimising the innocent Chakma/Hajong people at every given opportunity.

8. Exorbitant tax collected from poor Chakma/Hajong vegetable vendors at border district gates.

9.  Indifferent, rude behaviour and discrimination being faced in most offices and establishments in AP.

10. No proper roads and bridges over Noa dehing river.

The list is not exhaustive.

What arguments being cited against Chakma/Hajong people of AP? What are the counter arguments?

Rights (including ST rights) to Chakma/Hajong tribes will dilute the rights of the indigenous population.Categorise all tribals of AP into two groups:   Chakmas and Hajongs tribes as ST (plains), rest of the tribes as ST (Hills) as prevalent in neighbouring state Assam. This is a pragmatic solution to prevent dilution of rights if any.

The demography of Arunachal Pradesh will change as population of Chakmas is over 200000.
Chakma/Hajong population is only 49784 as per government census 2011. So, allegation of Chakma and Hajong population being 200000 has no substance. Demography changed 54 years back; it will not change as such as growth rate of Chakma/Hajong tribes is lower than the average growth rate of the overall population of AP.
Political right to Chakmas will make indigenous people minority in their own state.Taking into account, the concentration of Chakma and Hajong people in Diyun- Bordumsa MLA constituency, at best they will be instrumental in electing one MLA. What can a single MLA do in an Assembly house of 60?
Arunachal has no resources to accommodate the Chakmas.No extraordinary resources required to accommodate the Chakmas/Hajongs. Like other tribals, they do farming and in fact their contribution in the field of horticulture and agriculture is noteworthy despite hurdles of all sorts being faced by them. However, if state government feels burdened, the central government should be requested to govern the Chakmas/Hajongs people by creating separate District Council.
Chakma/Hajong people are settled temporarily in APIf at all Chakma/Hajong people are to be settled temporarily, they would been kept at Refugee camps in border state Tripura instead of making them travel over 1200 km to NEFA(AP) incurring huge travel expenditure and with risk to lives. Actually, the rehabilitation of Chakma Hajong people in AP was mainly a government strategic decision to safeguard the vulnerable border areas.

Note: For more clarification please refer to the answer to this question.

Why are Chakmas the worst victims of partition?

Being a super micro minority community, their voice for justice was ignored during Partition, their sacrifices during the freedom movement not recognised and their loyalty not rewarded. It’s unfortunate that in their own motherland- India; they are forced to lead miserable lives without full-fledged citizenship rights and opportunities. As a vulnerable tribal community, they are indeed one of the worst victims of Partition.

Are Chakmas loyal Indians?

Chakmas participated in the Indian Independence Movement. When India was partitioned, they never wanted nor demanded to part away from mainland India. In fact they only desired to remain under India which they strongly communicated to then Indian leadership and the Cycril Radcliffe Boundary Commission (committee appointed to supervise Partition). After India’s Independence on 15th August 1947, the Chakmas hoisted Indian national Flag with joy at Rangamati, the headquarter of CHT for seven days from 15th to 21st August 1947, but it was forcibly pulled down by the Pakistani Army on the eighth day.

Reason enough to say that Chakmas as a community have been loyal to India since time immemorial.

If not refugees, what is the present status of Chakma/Hajong people?

The present status of Chakma/Hajong people is of “beleaguered Indian citizens living lives without citizenship rights, opportunities and basic facilities”. Beleaguered because of denial and deprivation, Indian citizens by birth and by the very fact of REHABILITATION completed in 1964-69 but sadly are not given the rights entitled to a citizen of India.

Are Chakma/Hajong people of AP “refugees”?

As a matter of fact, Chakma/Hajong people of AP are no more refugees.  Each Chakma/Hajong family was refugee only for a brief period, which is during the transit from CHT to NEFA (AP) for around 3 to 5 years before the rehabilitation period 1964 to 1969. Supposing, they were to be treated as refugee, the government of India would have preferred to keep them in refugee camps in Tripura near the present Bangladesh border instead of making them travel a long distance of over 1000 km by foot mostly through thick jungles and forest, braving rains, wild animals, etc to reach NEFA (AP).

Further, government of India stopped refugee allowances after rehabilitation as it recognised Chakma Hajong people as fellow citizens of India thenceforth.

Thirdly, Chakma Hajong people got government jobs in SSB, Assam rifles, etc. Citizens get government jobs, not refugees.

Fourthly, many Chakma people had been been recruited in SSB to guard the borders just like any other citizen of India.

Fifth, each village headman was provided a red coat and cap giving legal status and authority to governance.

Sixth, gun licenses were given to Chakmas which citizens are entitled to. Chakma Hajong people got all the above mentioned rights and facilities because the government of India recognised them as citizens.

Indeed, the Refugeehood for Chakma Hajong people ended the moment they were rehabilitated permanently in Arunachal Pradesh.

What are the various government welfare schemes implemented/not implemented in Chakma/Hajong areas in AP ?

Name of the SchemeWhether
in AP
Chakma/Hajongs areas/people?
Scheme objective
MGNREGAYesNoWage employment
NRLMYesNoSelf – employment
IAY/PMAYYesNoHousing to BPL families
PMGSYYesNoConstruction of roads
NSAPNoNoSocial pension
SAGYNoNoModel village
SPM Rurban MissionNoNoRural growth centres
Gram Swaraj AbhiyanYesNoRural empowerment
Ujala YojanaYesYesLED bulb distribution
PMGDISHAYesYesDigital literacy
RGGVYYesYesRural electrification
DDU-GKYYesNoRural development

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