Chakma CSOs Call for Permission for Indian Residents from Burma to Apply for Citizenship

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By Moe Kyaw – Eight ethnic Chakma civil society organizations (CSOs) demanded last week that the Indian interior minister allow people from Burma to apply for Indian citizenship in accordance with the Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.

On January 30, the All India Chakma Students’ Union chairman Dilip Kanti Chakma—based in New Delhi—recommended that Burma be added to the bill’s list of countries whose nationals can be granted Indian citizenship after living in the country for six years. The current countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The bill allows for citizens of those countries to receive Indian citizenship if they are of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Parsi faiths.

On 30 January 2019, 8 Chakma CSOs organizations jointly demanded Indian interior minister to allow Chin ethnic people to apply for Indian citizenship accordance with Indian Citizenship (amendment) bill 2016.

According to local media and international human rights groups, there are more than 100,000 ethnic Chin people living in Mizoram and Manipur states in India, many of whom are refugees displaced by recent fighting in Chin State by the Burma Army and Arakan Army. Under the amended citizenship bill, ethnic Chakma people from Bangladesh would have the opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship. Locals in Mizoram State fear an influx of people from Bangladesh if the law is passed. Thousands of people demonstrated to this aim in Mizoram’s Aizawl town on January 23.

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