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Tibetans aren’t demanding Indian citizenship: Arunachal CM

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday said that Tibetans were not demanding Indian citizenship.

“The present population of Tibetans in Arunachal is around 7,000, which is decreasing every year. Many Tibetan families are being offered jobs and settlement in developed countries and hence they are leaving their settlement camps,” he told the fifth BJP State Executive Meeting here.

Moreover, he said that basic facilities of water, electricity, roads and public distribution system were extended to Tibetan refugee settlement camps across India by the central government through the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy.

Pema said his government would adopt the policy only after consulting all indigenous communities and student bodies.

Several civil society groups, including the opposition Peoples Party of Arunachal and Congress, have opposed the state cabinet’s decision on August 12 to adopt and extend the policy.

Blaming the Congress for the mess it created on the Chakma-Hajong refugee issue, Khandu, a former Congress-turned Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, said: “The BJP in the state is taking steps to solve it.”

He said following the Supreme Court order to grant citizenship to these refugees, 2,000 applications were received. But none qualified.

“It’s the Centre to decide on the citizenship of these refugees, but the state government is firm not to allow them into the state without an Inner Line Permit,” he said.

Moreover, he said his government was firm that no land rights or any rights enjoyed by the tribals of Arunachal would be accorded to these refugees.