Chakma students appeal for not dividing patients on communal lines

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News Desk

The Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union (APCSU) on Tuesday appealed for not dividing Covid-19 patients in the state on communal lines.

Terming the demand of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) to exclude the Chakmas from the state’s Covid tally “unfortunate,” the APCSU said, “This is like adding salt to wounds of the migrant Chakmas who were forced to return home from various cities due to loss of jobs in the countrywide lockdown.”

“Thousands of Chakmas were forced to move out to cities in search of jobs for survival as state jobs, including NREGA, etc, are banned for the Chakmas. The Chakmas are also compelled to migrate to cities as they are not covered under the public distribution system since ration cards were seized in October 1991, and due to loss of huge agricultural land in floods caused by the Noa Dehing river every year,” it said.

“Owing to the countrywide lockdown, the Chakma migrants have become jobless; they have exhausted all their hard-earned savings, and as uncertainty looms large, they have been forced to come home with no option left. It will be totally inhumane if the Chakma returnees are treated differently because of their ethnic origin,” stated the APCSU.

It also clarified that the majority of the Chakmas, including the migrant Chakmas returning from cities, were born in Arunachal and they are citizens of India by birth as per Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

“Nobody wants to get infected with this virus. Unfortunately, some of the returnees (have been) infected, most probably during transition. The patients need care and not segregation based on their ethnicity. This difficult time requires that all, including student bodies, community-based organizations, NGOs, etc, put their energy in one direction, ie, to help the state government in fighting this menace,” the union said.

It, however, supported the AAPSU’s demand for ensuring that testing kits and equipment are made available in the state, and for providing a second round of financial assistance to those stranded in different states.

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