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Centre to Grant Citizenship to Chakma, Hajong Refugees

Published on September 16, 2017
Union minister Kiren Rijiju has announced that the Government will provide citizenship to all Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the Northeast.

Centre to Grant Citizenship to Chakma, Hajong Refugees

  • The initiative on the Chakma and Hajong refugees comes when there is already an ongoing row over the Central government’s plans to deport Rohingya Muslims, 
  • Rohingya refugees came to India due to alleged persecution in Myanmar.


  • The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and Hajongs, who are Hindus faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). 
  • Chakmas are settled in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964. 
  • Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan who left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
  • The Centre moved them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The number of these refugees has increased from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to 1,00,000. 
  • They don’t have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government. In 2015, the Centre was directed by the Supreme Court to confer citizenship to these refugees.
  • After the Supreme Court’s rejection, both the central and state governments have started consultations to find a solution to the issue.
  • Now, government is looking for a middle ground so the 2015 Supreme Court order to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees could be honoured and the rights of the local population not diluted.

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