New Delhi: The Chakma and Hajong representative organisations of Arunachal Pradesh held a protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi and submitted a memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah against the recent cancellation of Residential Proof Certificates (RPCs) issued to the community in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh also protested against the directions to issue Temporary Settlement Certificates (TSCs) “for the purpose of education and job opportunities of Central government only”. 

The Chakma and Hajong representative organisations informed Home Minister that the Assam Rifles in an order dated November 23, 2022, notified that “Temporary Residential Certificates are not accepted as proof of domicile/permanent resident certificate” for joining services. 

“Only citizens of India qualify for central government jobs and therefore, it is the admitted position of the State government of Arunachal Pradesh that those to be issued TSCs are Indian citizens. As the Assam Rifles itself has rejected the temporary residential certificates for recruitment, it is obvious that the stated aims of issuing TSCs stand defeated and therefore the order issuing TSCs has to be withdrawn and residence proof certificates ought to be issued”, stated Tejang Chakma, Delhi-NCR Convenor of the Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance (CHRA). 

Speaking on the issue, Rup Singh Chakma, President of Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students Union (APCSU) said, “Every citizen of this country is issued present and permanent address certificates by the relevant authorities. Under the Income Tax Act and the Representation of Peoples Act, any person staying in a place for about six months is considered ordinary resident. These Chakmas and Hajongs have been born and brought up in Arunachal Pradesh. A citizen living in his/her birth place being issued Temporary Settlement Certificates (TSC) is unheard of under India laws and administrative practices and it is being done only for sadistic pleasure.“

Santosh Baburah Chakma, youth leader and President of the Chakma Welfare and Cultural Society of NOIDA added, “There are about 30,000 Chakma and Hajong Indian citizens who are born and brought up in Arunachal Pradesh in the age groups eligible for education and employment. They have been issued Residential Proof Certificates (RPCs) for educational and employment purposes.”

“The cancellation of the RPCs and issuance of the TRCs are nothing but an act of racial discrimination. Other non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes are not issued Temporary Settlement Certificates and the Chakmas and Hajongs are being targeted because of their ethnic origin and descent”, Sumangal Chakma, Convenor of the Arunachal Pradesh Chakma & Hajong Students Association added.

While addressing the protest Suhas Chakma, Founder of the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) stated, “There is no rule of law in Arunachal Pradesh. The AAPSU is acting as the supreme authority over the State government of Arunachal Pradesh. Even the order dated November 22, 2022, suspending Extra Assistant Commissioner of Diyun Circle, Changlang district Shri Snehanghsu Roy for purportedly issuing RPCs to the Chakmas and Hajongs had to be marked to the AAPSU. It is a reflection of the sad state of affairs in the State.”

The Chakma and Hajong representatives organisations demanded Home Minister Amit Shah direct the State of Arunachal Pradesh to issue present and permanent resident certificates as provided under laws and administrative practice/requirements across the country and direct the Assam Rifles under the Ministry of Home Affairs to not deny recruitment of the Chakmas and Hajongs because of the non-grant of residence proof certificates by the State of Arunachal Pradesh and recruit eligible Chakmas and Hajongs already selected.

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