Flashback October 1994

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Arunachal heading for Bloodbath

Go back foreigners. Go back Chakmas. Go back Tibetans. The lush green hills girding Itanagar reverbrated with the echoes of full throated slogans shouted by thousands of indigenous Arunachalis. The date was Saturday, September 24. The occasion, a public rally organised by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) – the last in a series of five held in different parts of the state to press for the repatriation or deportation of an estimated 200,000 refugees and illegal immigrants who began settling in Arrunachal – India’s ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ – since 1944. Now the refugees – Chakmas from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, Hajongs from Mymensingh district, Tibetans and Yobins, plus illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Nepal – number one quarter of the total state population. The indigenous people of Arunachal want them out by September 30.
A bloodbath may be imminent after the expiry of the deadline. Since the September 7 rally organised by the AAPSU on the issue of Changlang district of Arunachal, which has the highest concentration of Chakma Buddhist refugees in the state...