The people of Chakma and Hojang community arrived in Arunachal Pradesh of India from East Pakistan in 1964, and today after almost 5 decades the Centre will grant them Indian citizenship.

Ethnic communities of people of Chakma-Hojang from Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, which was previously known as East Pakistan fled from their homelands and took refuge in North-eastern India. They had to leave their homes because of religious persecutions back in 1964, and as usual India embraced the refugees with all the heart. The stateless community consisting of Hindus and followers of Buddhism, has been living in Arunachal Pradesh in camps and tribal regions for over 50 years. Initially, they were treated as refugees and were provided life-sustenance facilities but now the Central Government of India has decided to grant them Indian citizenship under Section 5(i)(a) of the Citizenship Act.

While the 1-lakh big community if Chakma-Hojang people are getting Indian citizenship, the Rohingya Muslims are treated as illegal immigrants and the Centre is planning to deport them back to Myanmar – where they are currently facing immense violence. As per Home Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Myanmar refugees are ‘terrorists’ and they could disturb national security. So what Rijiju is trying to say is that the people whose families have been killed by their own country’s army, whose houses are charred down, who have no country’s citizenship, who have nothing on hand – no clothes, no food, no home – talk about money – are a national threat to India and are most likely to bomb down if allowed to refuge in the country. They really must be deported back, back to what is hell for them.

It is not about why they are granting citizenship to the Chakma-Hojang communities, but it is about why we cannot provide at least temporary survival to the Rohingya community? They belong to almost similar regions, they have the same reasons for fleeing and taking refuge in India – so why so biased and polarised? We all know why. This is where secularism is uprooted to death, this is how enmity seeds – it is not some chorus of branding India as villain, it is just a question of humanity. If we can grant citizenship to 1 lakh refugees from Bangladesh, can we not let the 40,000 Rohingya refugees stay temporarily? We have to think as ‘humans to humans’ rather than ‘religion to religion’ or even ‘country to country’ – because in the end, we all are humans, I suppose.

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