Diyun: One-day massive peaceful protest to condemn the cancellation of Resident Proof Certificates (RPCs) to Chakmas and Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh AP is being held at Diyun.

The protest was also held with the demand of the restoration and issue of the RPCs by December 15, 2022.

This protest has been done under the banner of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is the unified umbrella organization of all Chakma-Hajong Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and its constituent members.

The organisations said, “We strongly condemn the notification issued by Shri Rajeev Takuk, Joint Secretary (Political), Government of Arunachal Pradesh cancelling all Residence Proof Certificates (RPCs) issued to the Chakma and Hajong people of Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh.”

They added, “The impugned circular also provides for the issue of Temporary Settlement Certificates in lieu of Resident Proof Certificates as an alternative arrangement. This is a direct blow to the right of Chakma and Hajong people to join the defence forces and serve the nation as well as hitting them below the belt as it denies them the right to earn their livelihood.”

The organisations further that replacing the RPCs with “Temporary Settlement Certificates” is like adding insult to injury to the sentiments of the Chakmas and Hajongs as it will neither serve the purpose of residence proof for various educational purposes nor will be admissible as proof for any employment or career-related opportunities. “It is useless and serves no purpose”, they added.

They termed the organisation as a blatant violation of a Delhi High Court judgement that ruled Chakmas as citizens of India by birth and many of whom are voting as citizens of India.

Another Guwahati High Court order categorically stated that the Chakmas and Hajongs don’t require any inner line permit. 

The organisations also added that temporary residence certificates are meant for those who need ILP to enter Arunachal Pradesh and Chakmas and Hajongs being ‘residents of Arunachal Pradesh’ do not need ILP. “Since the Chakmas have been resident of the state for more than 58 years, they meet the eligibility criteria of minimum 10 years domicile stipulated by the state and hence the Chakmas and Hajongs should be given ‘Permanent Residence Certificates’ and not Temporary Settlement Certificates”, they added.

They claimed that issuing TSC is a new category created by the state administration to “appease the AAPSU” which is in clear defiance and violation to the aforesaid court order, malafide and discriminatory. 

They added that AAPSU had earlier raised the RPC issue because of an alleged brawl that involved a few Chakma jawans with local tribal youth. “This incident was blown out of proportion and given a political colour to target innocent Chakma children and jeopardize their future”, the statement added.

With the latest protest, the organisations demanded revocation of these notifications and restoration of either Resident Proof Certificates (RPCs) or issuing Permanent Resident Certificates to the Chakmas and Hajongs within December 15. They added that if the government fails to meet the demands they will escalate their democratic protest indefinitely in the form of hunger strikes, bandh calls, non-cooperation, etc.

“We will not accept Temporary Settlement Certificates in lieu of the Residential Proof Certificates under any circumstances as it is not going to serve any purpose, regressive, turning the clock backwards to the pre-settlement/rehabilitation phase and violates principles of justice and various orders of the high court / supreme courts”, they said.

“Supreme Court’s directive to protect the life, liberty and property of each and every Chakma and Hajong, as well as the protection of their human rights, must be honoured, and the court verdicts implemented without any further delay”, the statement concluded.

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