Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

After dissolution of the State Assembly on 6 July 2004 following the downsizing of the Ministry pursuant to the Anti-Defection Act, the Congress Party won the Arunachal Pradesh State Assembly elections held in October 2004.

For the first time, an estimated 1,497 Chakma and Hajong citizens exercised the right to franchise in May 2004 parliamentary general elections and October 2004 assembly elections on the directions of the Election Commission of India. However, more than 20,000 Chakma and Hajong eligible voters were not included into the electoral rolls. More than 10,000 Chakmas and Hajongs migrants have also not been granted Indian citizenship. About  4,000 Chakmas had submitted their applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India in 1997 pursuant to the Supreme Court judgement but not a single application has so far been processed.

Serious human rights violations against the Chakmas and Hajongs remained the main concern in Arunachal Pradesh. Following the murder of a local public leader, Innaolaong Singpho allegedly by some miscreants in December 2004, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union turned the murder into a communal issue [1] and unleashed fresh atrocities against the Chakmas and Hajongs. One Hajong was killed, dozens were injured and 33 Chakma houses were torched. The entry of the Chakma and Hajong students at Innao Secondary School in Changlang district was temporarily banned. On 10 December 2004, underground National Liberation Front of Arunachal (NLFA) headed by K H Tara served quit notice to the Chakmas and Hajongs to leave Arunachal Pradesh within two months. [2]

Although, NLFA has not been relatively active, armed opposition groups from neighbouring Assam and Nagaland reportedly maintained their presence especially in the Changlang district in the State.  Many innocent persons have been victims of atrocities perpetrated both by the armed opposition groups from outside of Arunachal Pradesh and the security forces. [3] On 16 November 2004, the army personnel posted in Tikhak Putak village under Changlang district were attacked. Three persons were killed and seven were injured. The army subsequently launched combing operations. [4] On 13 December 2004, the Assam Rifles personnel reportedly shot dead one Tana Profulla, a civilian, while entering a jungle along with three of his friends. [5]

[1] . CCRCAP appeal dated 14 December 2004 to the National Human Rights Commission for urgent interventions

[2] . NLFA serves quit notice on Chakma-Hajong refugees, The Sentinel, 12 December 2004

[3] . Buddhists being ‘harassed’ by Army, ultras, The Assam Tribune, 10 June 2004

[4] . Army continuing combing operation in Arunachal, The Sentinel, 20 November 2004

[5] . Civilian killing’ snowballs into major crisis, The Sentinel, 28 December 2004