Did You Know That The Chakmas Of Arunachal Never Actually Belonged to Bangladesh?

Partition of the Indian sub-continent during Independence is one of the most crucial and greatest tragedies in contemporary history; and this event has gravely affected the the Chakma tribes of Chittagong Hill Tracts as well. In 1947, despite protests and demonstration by the Chakma people and other tribes that are 97 % Buddhist/non-Muslim in the region of CHT, CHT was included in Pakistan. In fact, prior to Independence, the Chakma people even hoisted the Indian Flag on August 15, 1947 at Rangamati (now Bangladesh) because leaders of the Congress party had given the people an assurance that CHT would be included in India. But unfortunately, the Chakmas and other tribes of CHT were made a part of East Pakistan.

In 1964, a hydro-electric project was undertaken near the Karnapuli river, which created a huge lake in the centre of CHT, submerging 20,000 hectares of cultivable land and displacing more than 1,00,000 tribal people. The Chakmas had no choice but to leave CHT. The Indian Government, as a result, moved the Chakma tribes to Arunachal Pradesh (formerly NEFA) in 1964 and specified settlement accordingly.

The present day Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh never actually belonged to Bangladesh as alleged. In fact, they were part of undivided India (prior to partition of India and Pakistan), and after Independence, the region of CHT was part of East Pakistan and in 1964, they were brought to present day Arunachal Pradesh legally by the Indian Government.

Despite the judgment given by Hon’ble Supreme Court for granting citizenship in 2015 to the Chakmas, with directives to both the state and central governments for proper implementation, Chakmas are still facing many issues. Further, the state government is delaying the process of implementation of the rules and depriving Chakmas of basic amenities such as government jobs, government schemes, ration, license, etc., which were availed by the Chakma tribes till 1983-84. In fact, the areas where Chakmas were given settlement were bordering with China. Meanwhile,  Chakmas were given weapon training by Indian forces (considering the then recent Indo-China war of 1962) so that the people can assist security forces in times of war.


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