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Debate Ignites Over Potential Relocation of Chakma and Hajong Refugees

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju’s statement suggesting the relocation of Chakma and Hajong refugees from Arunachal Pradesh to Assam under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, has sparked controversy in Assam. Despite Rijiju’s claim of discussions with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Sarma denied any such plans. Political figures like Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhupen Borah and Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi have condemned the remarks, demanding clarity from Sarma. The All Assam Students’ Union and Assam Jatiya Parishad have also voiced opposition, expressing concerns over the potential burden on Assam’s indigenous communities. Meanwhile, the Chakma Development Forum of India (CDFI) has emphasized the legal rights of Chakma and Hajong refugees, asserting that any forced relocation would face legal challenges. The issue adds complexity to the longstanding debate over the status and resettlement of these refugees, initially settled in Arunachal Pradesh in the 1960s.

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