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  • Arunachal Pradesh

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs 2
    a. Denial of nationality 2
    b. Denial of voting rights 2
    c. Denial of basic facilities and income generating avenues 3
    3. Cultural cruelties against women. 4
    4. Right to food. 4


    1. Overview

    Ruled by Indian National Congress, Arunachal Pradesh faced increased insurgency problem in 2005. The National Liberation Front of Arunachal (NLFA) boycotted the Republic Day celebrations in the State.[1] Besides, there had been reports of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) setting up new bases in the forest areas of Arunachal Pradesh.[2] On 25 August 2005, the Arunachal Pradesh Police arrested “self-styled” Chairman of NLFA, Koj Tara in Dimapur, Nagaland.[3]

    The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Government of India recorded four instances when police opened fire killing 2 civilians and injuring 3 others in 2005.[4]

    The Chakmas and Hajongs continued to be denied the right to citizenship in clear violations of the directions of the Supreme Court of India and the Election Commission of India.

    In January 2005, a four-member Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women was formed.[5] Women continued to suffer from exploitation because of evil social practices.

    There were also reports of acute food shortages especially in East Kameng district because of the failure of the Food Corporation of India to supply rice and other necessary food supplies on time. A Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Gauhati High Court in April 2005 by Arunachal Citizen Rights and NEFA Indigenous Human Rights Organization against the denial of subsidised food grains under the various welfare schemes, such as Below Poverty Line, Old Age, Antyodaya Anna Yojna, Sampurna Gramin Rojgar Yojana etc and the nexus amongst the contractors, bureaucrats and politicians to siphon off the funds meant for the tribals living the below poverty line.[6]

    2. Discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs

    The plight of the Chakmas and Hajongs, who have been residing in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964, did not see any improvement. On 30 January 2005, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) issued a one-month ultimatum to the State Government to deport the Chakma-Hajong migrants from the State.[7] On 8 February 2005, the National Liberation Front of Arunachal reiterated its demand for immediate deportation of Chakma and Hajong migrants from the state, and cautioned the Centre ‘not to wait for chaos and bloodshed'.[8] On 20 February 2005, about 300 students were arrested while trying to stage a demonstration on the issue of deportation of the migrants during United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi's visit to the state.[9]

    a. Denial of nationality

    The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India often reiterated its respect for the directions of the Supreme Court judgement of 9 January 1996 in the case of National Human Rights Commission versus State of Arunachal Pradesh & Another (W.P.(C)No.720 of 1995).  Union Minister of State for Home, S Regupathy stated in the Rajya Sabha on 2 March 2005 that the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the Arunachal Pradesh Government to ensure that the life and personal liberty of each and every Chakma and Hajong residing in the State should be protected.[10]

    In reality, the Central government failed to honour and implement the Supreme Court judgment. About 4,627 Chakmas and Hajongs submitted applications during 1997-2003 pursuant to the Supreme Court judgement. Not a single applicant was conferred citizenship till date. The Government of India failed to ensure that the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh transmit all the applications of the Chakma and Hajong applicants as provided under sub-rule (5) of Rule 9 of the Citizenship Rules, 1956.

    b. Denial of voting rights

    The Chakmas and Hajongs who are citizens by birth under section 3(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 continued to be denied the right to franchise. Not a single new  Chakma and Hajong voter was included in the electoral roll in 2005. Rather, the State Government tried to delete the names of even 1,497 previously enrolled Chakma and Hajong voters from electoral rolls during Intensive Revision in the state in 2005. 

    On 23 March 2005, the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued an order for conduct of Intensive Revision in Arunachal Pradesh. The ECI also issued detailed guidelines to be complied with by the electoral officers during the conduct of the revision exercise. The ECI also issued additional guidelines (7.14) for enumeration in areas having substantial presence of Chakmas as given below.

    “(d)      The ERO concerned, on receipt of the enumeration pad and manuscript from the supervisors shall segregate the names of Chakmas into two sections, as per the date of birth mentioned in the enumeration pad;

    (i)         Containing the name of persons who were born in India between 26th January 1950 and 1st July 1987; and in whose case linkage could be established that their parents had migrated to Arunachal Pradesh in 1964, as per the refugee registration records or any other relevant records.

    (e)        In respect of those persons whose names have been included in category (d) (i), above, their names shall be straight away included in the draft electoral roll.”

    In clear violations of the above guidelines, from day one of the revision process, the Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs) prescribed birth certificate as the only document for enrolment. Ignoring clause (e), the EROs and AEROs arbitrarily and illegally subjected all eligible Chakma and Hajong voters who have been issued electoral cards to undergo local verification irrespective of whether linkage as required under Guideline (d) (i) was established or not. 

    The Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCAP), an organization representing the Chakmas and Hajongs, complained to the Election Commission of India against gross and willful violations of the ECI Guidelines of 23 March 2005 by the EROs, AEROs and other concerned electoral officials of Arunachal Pradesh during the revision exercise.

    Taking cognizance of such gross violations of its guidelines, the Election Commission of India suspended all works related to the Intensive Revision-2006 in 46-Chowkham; 49-Bordumsa-Diyun and 50-Miao Assembly Constituencies inhabited by the Chakmas and Hajongs till the Election Commission of India decides on the issue. At the end of the year, the issue remained pending before the Election Commission of India.

    c. Denial of basic facilities and income generating avenues

    The Chakmas and Hajongs irrespective of their legal status face systematic discrimination from the State administration. Pursuant to the Order No CS/HOME/94 dated 21 November 1994 for ‘withdrawal of all kinds of facilities from the Chakma Settlement area”, the government schools and all 49 Anganwadi Centres remained withdrawn since 1994-95.  The Chakma and Hajong students continued to be denied admissions in all schools in Miao.

    There were no health care facilities in around 30 Chakma villages spreading in three districts of Changlang, Lohit and Papumpare. Despite water born diseases like malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and dysentery taking a heavy toll of deaths each year, the state government had not made any provision for drinking water in these villages.

    No development activities were undertaken by the State Government in the Chakma and Hajong villages. More than 75 per cent of the Chakma and Hajong villages did not have electricity connections although the main lines (High Tension) had been erected way back in the 1990s. On the other hand, the Chakmas and Hajongs continued to be denied even kerosene oil which they use for lighting lamps at homes.

    The State Government's order No FPSO-3/90-91 of 31 October 1991 withdrawing ration card facilities under the Public Distribution System remained operative at the end of 2005.  Consequently, the Chakmas and Hajongs who were below the poverty line were denied the facilities. There was also complete ban of state government employment, jobs and other income generating activities for the Chakmas and Hajongs pursuant to the Order No. POL –21/80 dated 29th September 1980. 

    3. Cultural cruelties against women

    Women continued to be subjected to cruel and degrading treatment, most particularly sexual exploitation in the name customs and traditions. Sexual exploitation of a sister-in-law after kidnapping by her brother-in-law in case of death of the elder sister if her family did not repay the ‘bride price' continued.[11]

    In January 2005, the State government established Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women.[12] Kidnapping and forcibly marrying of sister-in-laws by the elder sister's husbands was reported from the State and that such practice reportedly had the sanction of the society.  Going to the authorities against such kind of inhuman practice resulted in social sanctions like ex-communication or ostracisation.[13]

    4. Right to food

    In 2005, East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh with a population of 57,000 was reportedly gripped by starvation due to the failure of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to supply rice and other necessary food supplies on time. The FCI reportedly failed to respond positively despite repeated requests from the Deputy Commissioner and the District Supply Officer.[14]

    There were consistent and serious allegations of large scale irregularities and corruption in the distribution of foodgrains in Arunachal Pradesh through various welfare schemes. In a Public Interest Litigation before the Gauhati High Court in April 2005, the petitioners - Arunachal Citizens Rights and NEFA Indigenous Human Rights Organization - alleged that the poor tribal populace of the state were deprived of benefits of subsidized food grains under the various welfare schemes, such as Below Poverty Line, Old Age, Antyodaya Anna Yojna, Sampurna Gramin Rojgar Yojana etc, distributed through Public Distribution System. The alleged nexus amongst the contractors, bureaucrats and politicians resulted in siphoning off millions of rupees in the name of the distribution of highly subsidized food grains to the poor tribal population of the state living below the poverty line.[15]



    [1]. NLFA calls R-Day boycott, The Sentinel, 23 January 2005

    [2]. ULFA bases in Arunachal, The Sentinel, 2 February 2005 

    [3]. Arunachal Police arrests NLFA chairman, The Shillong Times, 29 August 2005 

    [4]. 2005-Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [5]. Arunachal gets Women Commission, The Shillong Times, 11 January 2005

    [6]. CBI probe into PDS scam demanded, The Assam Tribune, 21 April 2005

    [7]. AAPSU ultimatum to Arunachal Govt, The Sentinel, 31 January 2005

    [8]. NLFA for early deportation of refugees, The Shillong Times, 9 February 2005 

    [9]. Arunachal students stage sit-in in front of Raj Bhawan, The Assam Tribune, 4 March 2005 

    [10].  ‘Centre avoids refugee issue' The Sentinel, 4 March 2005 

    [11]. Review of tribal laws in Arunachal Pradesh demanded, The Assam Tribune, 30 November 2005

    [12]. Arunachal gets Women Commission, The Shillong Times, 11 January 2005

    [13]. Review of tribal laws in Arunachal Pradesh demanded, The Assam Tribune, 30 November 2005

    [14]. Population in interior Arunachal facing starvation, The Shillong Times, 24 June 2005

    [15]. CBI probe into PDS scam demanded, The Assam Tribune, 21 April 2005

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