27 April 2020
‘Their ration cards were seized in 1991’
A Delhi-based rights body has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in ensuring food for the Chakma and Hajong communities in Arunachal Pradesh who have allegedly not been included in the government’s economic package.
The Chakmas and Hajongs, displaced in the 1960s by violence and a dam in erstwhile East Pakistan, were settled in parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
“The Chakmas and Hajongs do not have ration cards as the State government had illegally and arbitrarily seized those through an order on October 25, 1991,” said Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group.
As a result, the two communities have been forced to buy rice at ₹29 per kg while other vulnerable sections have been paying ₹5 per kg as per the economic package announced by the State government on April 12.
This was beyond the means of most Chakma and Hajong people, resulting in hunger and starvation of members of the community who had legally become Indian citizens, Mr. Chakma claimed.
Reminding that denial of food was a violation of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, he requested the Prime Minister to provide the two communities rice at the subsidised price till June or any time as may be extended by the Centre.