CDFI cautions Home Minister Amit Shah about the direct impact of the nationwide repression on the Chakmas in seven Chakma dominated Assembly constituencies of Tripura.

Ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Tripura on November 21, the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) on Friday cautioned him against the growing alienation of the Chakmas from the BJP as a result of nation-wide repression on them in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.

The CDFI also said about the potential direct impact on the electoral outcomes in seven Chakma-dominated Assembly constituencies of Tripura in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

The CDFI highlighted the proposed relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh sixty years after their permanent settlement was announced by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on his Independence Day address on 15 August 2021.

It also pointed out the illegal eviction of over 110 Chakma tribal families at Thedongnala under Lumding Circle in Assam’s Hojai district despite the Chakmas inhabiting the area for over the last 40 years.

The CDFI also mentioned the directions issued on August 2, 2021, by the Tripura government to conduct an investigation into the alleged influx of only Chakmas as alleged foreigners despite more influx from the other communities; and snatching of the Scheduled Tribes status from the Chakmas as non-Mizo people under the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 by allocating only 1% of the seats for the Chakmas in higher technical education.

“Out of these four States where the Chakmas are facing the repression, three States i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura are ruled by the BJP while Mizoram is ruled by the Mizo National Front which is a member of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). Therefore, there are legitimate questions in the minds of the Chakmas as to whether their rights are being protected by the BJP led governments,” said Suhas Chakma, founder of the CDFI.

He said that if the repression on the Chakmas continues unabated and corrective remedial measures are not taken, growing alienation of the Chakmas has the potential to impact the electoral outcomes in the forthcoming Tripura State Assembly elections against the BJP.

“Out of the 20 reserved Assembly seats for the Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, the Chakmas are dominant and deciding factors in seven Assembly constituencies of Chawamanu (39,471 electors in 2018), Karbook (34,761 electors), Karmachara (37,766 electors),  Kanchanpur (41,975 electors), Manu (42,843 electors), Pecharthal (40,227 electors) and Raima Valley (43,415). At present, two Assembly constituencies of Tripura i.e. Chawamanu and Pecharthal are held by two MLAs belonging to the Chakma community and the BJP,” he said.

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