The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to grant citizenship within three months to Chakmas and Hajongs refugees who migrated to India from Bangladesh in 1964-69 and settled in the state.
A bench of Justices A R Dave and A K Goel said Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship subject to the procedure being followed and they cannot be discriminated in any manner. It directed the government to take all necessary steps to protect them as they are facing hostility from the local population.
“It is well known that the Chakmas and Hajongs were displaced from the area which became part of East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated under the decision of the Government of India…They could not be discriminated against in any manner pending formal conferment of rights of citizenship,” it said.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (CCRC) alleging that they were still being treated as foreigners despite living for more than 50 years in the state and being deprived the benefits of various social welfare schemes including Public Distribution System.
“We direct the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh to finalize the conferment of citizenship rights on eligible Chakmas and Hajongs and also to ensure compliance of directions in judicial decisions for protection of their life and liberty and against their discrimination in any manner. The exercise may be completed at the earliest preferably within three months from today,” it said.
Source: TIMES OF INDIA