New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to grant citizenship within three months to Chakma and Hajong tribals who had migrated from Bangladesh in 1964-69, saying they cannot be discriminated in any manner,
"It is well known that the Chakmas and Hajongs were displaced from the area which became part of East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated under the decision of the Government of India...
"They could not be discriminated against in any manner pending formal conferment of rights of citizenship. Their status also stands duly acknowledged in the guidelines of the Election Commission of India," a bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel said.
The apex court said that Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship and it is even "recognised by judicial decisions that they cannot be required to obtain any Inner Line permit as they are settled in Arunachal Pradesh."
The court passed the order on a petition filed by Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (CCRC) seeking direction to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong tribals who migrated to India in 1964-1969 and were settled in the Arunachal Pradesh.
"As earlier held by this Court, the Delhi High Court and Gauhati High Court, they need to be protected and their claims of citizenship need to be considered as per applicable procedure," the court said.