The Government of India in September 2017 has decided to grant Indian citizenship to nearly one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees, who came from the erstwhile East Pakistan five decades ago.
The Chakma and Hajong refugees currently live in camps in the Northeast India.
The move came following an order of the Supreme Court, which in 2015 had directed the Union Government to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh.
Who are Chakma and Hajong refugees?
• The Chakmas are an ethnic group scattered in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and West Bengal of India and in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
• The Chakmas are divided into 46 clans or Gozas. They have their own language, customs and culture, and profess Theravada Buddhism.
• The Hajong people are tribal people of North-eastern India and Bengal.
• Hajong people are spread out across North East India West Bengal and Bangladesh. Majority of the Hajongs are settled in India.
• Hajong have the status of a Scheduled Tribe in India.
• The Chakmas faced religious persecution in East Pakistan along with the Hajongs, who are Hindus.
• Out of those who reached India, most of them were Chakmas and only 2000 were Hajong.
• The groups entered India through what was then the Lushai Hills district of Assam (today’s Mizoram).
• While some stayed back with Chakmas already living in the Lushai Hills, the Indian government moved a majority of the refugees to present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
Who: Union Government
When: September 2017