The DoNER ministry on Friday asked Arunachal Pradesh government to include the 65,875 Chakma and Hajong tribals in the COVID-19 and lockdown related ‘economic package’.
The development took place after Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has complained of such exclusion.
“The Ministry for Development of the North Eastern Region (DONER) has directed the Government of Arunachal Pradesh to take up the exclusion of the 65,875 Chakmas and Hajongs from the ‘economic package for vulnerable sections in these difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic” that caused massive hunger and starvation as a “matter of priority,” said Chakma.
Rambir Singh, joint secretary in DONER ministry has written a letter to Naresh Kumar, Arunachal Pradesh chief secretary to address the issue.
“The food relief has been provided to about 40 percent of the extremely poor Chakmas and Hajongs like the daily wage labourers under the Diyun circle till yesterday.
“A list of 1,544 families of extremely poor Chakmas and Hajongs was submitted to the Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) on April 17 but about 60 percent of these beneficiaries have been reduced arbitrarily too little over 600 families,” Chakma said.
He said hundreds of families under Diyun circle are still suffering from starvation, and the RRAG once again today urged the PMO to ensure that no one goes hungry.
Chkama said that for the last 56 years, Chakmas and Hajongs faced discrimination as a matter of State policy and their exclusion from the COVID-19 economic package, which is the humanity’s largest humanitarian crisis in recorded history, exposes this State policy.
“It is not only at Diyun but in other areas such as Miao, Chowkham, Kharsang, Bordumsa etc, the Chakmas and Hajongs are facing massive food shortage because of their exclusion.
“Because of discrimination and exclusion in the last 56 years, overwhelming majority of the Chakmas and Hajongs have been reduced to daily wage labourers, and these people require relief under the COVID-19 the most,” said Chakma.