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ADDING CHAKMAS AND HAJONGS TO RELIEF PLAN

Why in news?

The Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) has directed the Arunachal Pradesh government to include the Chakma and Hajong communities in the COVID-19 relief programme.

The Mizoram Chakma Alliance Against Discrimination (MCAAD) on Friday appealed to Chief Miniter Zoramthanga to provide relief to more than 1,000 Chakma tribal people from the State stranded across the country due to the lockdown.

Woes of the Communities

  • According to the Rights and Risks Analysis Group, a majority of the Chakmas and Hajongs living in the State for the last 56 years have been facing massive food shortage because of their exclusion from the relief programme.
  • More than 50,000 members of the two communities were settled in the State in the early 1960s after they were displaced by a dam and ethnic violence in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
  • The rights group said that the local administration in the State’s Changlang district trimmed the list of 1,544 families of extremely poor Chakmas and Hajongs by about 60%.
  • As a result, some 600 families were being counted as beneficiaries for buying rice at market prices instead of the pandemic-related specially subsidised rates for people below and above the poverty line.

Chakma

  • The Chakma people, are a native group from the eastern-most regions of the Indian subcontinent.
  • They are the largest ethnic group in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region in southeastern Bangladesh, and in Mizoram.
  • They are the second largest ethnic group, and in Tripura, India.
  • After the Kaptai dam tragedy, 40-50 thousand Chakmas migrated to Arunachal Pradesh in 1964 and 20-30 thousand Chakmas in Assam.
  • The Chakma language (written in the Chakma script) is part of the Indo-Aryan language family of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Most Chakma people are adherents of Therevada Buddhism
  • The community is headed by the Chakma Raja, whose status as a tribal head has been historically recognized by the Government of British India and the Government of Bangladesh.

Hajong

  • The Hajong are a tribal group native to the Indian subcontinent, notably in the northeast Indian states and Bangladesh.
  • Majority of them are settled in India.
  • Hajongs are predominantly rice farmers.
  • Hajong have the status of a Scheduled Tribe in India.
  • The Hajongs are Hindus and observe Hindu rites and customs.
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September 2022
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