In 2002, the state Government of AP granted citizenship and Scheduled Tribe status to the 90 Tibetan families of Shyo village living in Tawang district bordering China. They also had fled to AP in 1960’s.
On 31 st March, 2003, the Election Commission of India,s notification that the Special Revision of electoral roll for enrolment of the Chakmas and Hajongs into the voter lists. The Election Commission issued the notification after the AP State Election Commission officials systematically flouted the Delhi High Court judgement of 28 September, 2000 (CPR no. 886 of 2000) for enrolment of eligible Chakmas and Hajongs voters into the electoral rolls.
While examining’s 15th to 19th periodic reports (CERD/C/IND/19), it esessential to keep in mind that given the federal nature of the country, the States (provinces) have legislative and administrative powers including maintenance of law and order, education, health care etc. Therefore, indigenous/tribal peoples, the Dalits and the minorities also face discrimination because of the action of the State governments.
On the denial of the applicability of Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, India at the outset of its reports recognizes“ diverse origin of its peoples and India’s “ ethnic, religious,linguistic and economic diversity ”. After having recognized the existence of one of the grounds of racial discrimination i.e. discrimination on “ ethnic origin” , it denies applicability of the Convention. The government of cannot probate and reprobate at the same time.
The government of India’s denial of the existence of racial discrimination is inconsistent with the directions of constitutional bodies like the Election Commission of India. In its report, the government of referred to inclusion of names of 1,497 Chakmas and Hajongs into electoral rolls in AP. With regard to the exclusion of the same Chakmas and Hajongs eligible voters from electoral rolls in AP, the Election Commission of India in its order No. 23/ARUN/2003 of 3 March 2004 held that they“ have not been included in the electoral rolls mainly for the reason that they belong to the Chakma tribe/race (emphasis ours) ”
Right to participate in elections
The government of India in its report highlights enrolment of 1,497 Chakmas and Hajongs voters in the electoral rolls in AP. But it does not mention that over 14,000 eligible Chakma and Hajong voters continuedto be denied enrolment in the electoral rolls because of the blatant violations of the directions of the Election Commission of India by the State government of AP. The government of India also failed to mention that out of 4,627 Chakmas and Hajongs who had submitted citizenship applications in 1997-1998 pursuant to the Supreme Court of India’s judgement in the case of National Human Rights Commission versus State of AP & Another (W.P. No. 720 of 1995) on 9 January 1996, the Union government of India failed to determine even a single application until today. This is a clear case of discrimination considering that the government of has been granting citizenship rights to the Hindu refugees who migrated to Rajasthan much later than the Chakmas and Hajongs.
Why no Indian Citizenship for Chakma & Hajong of Arunachal Pradesh?