The sad story of Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh
In Arunachal Pradesh, 35,000 Chakmas and Hajongs migrated from east Pakistan, now Bangladesh, to NEFA now Arunachal Pradesh nearly 50 years ago, are still considered as refugees. The state government has not provided facilities provided to Chakmas and Hajongs.
THE TANGSA and Singpho are the two main tribes which inhabit the area around Namdapha. Over the years the population of Chakmas in this region has grown manifold, creating a sense of insecurity within the Singpho community. Feeling threatened by growing numbers, the Singpho tribe has started showing animosity towards the Chakmas.
There is considerable friction between them, despite the fact that Singphos communities are Buddhists and Tangsa Except Tikak are Christian. The problem is further complicated by the fact that Arunachal government does not provide them with a legal status, despite the fact that the government of India
has now granted citizenship to the Chakmas. This has left the Chakmas completely isolated, with no economic options besides labour work and marginal farming.
From the Namdapha gate to M’Pen (10th Mile) there is a settlement of around 98 Chakma houses, residing on the banks of the Noa Dhing. Due to political issues they have been disallowed from taking admission in the public schools in Miao since the past few years. The denial of a proper education has created further tension between the two communities. There is one primary school in the Chakma basti near 10th mile, which caters to neighboring households. The level of teaching is not all that great but the kids are extremely enthusiastic and show a genuine thirst for knowledge. To add to their woes, the school gets washed out in the heavy monsoons every year, since it is only a temporary structure.