The Settlements of the Chakma people in Arunachal

young-chakma-kids-with-their-traditional-ornaments

Photo: Chakma young kids (Courtesy: NEI People).

Well known to most people the Chakma are one of the largest displaced communities in the north east India. Coming in from Bangladesh in the 1960s, they are now in Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Perhaps, Arunachal Pradesh is where this community faced most oppositions and atrocities. In other states, they have received government support.

The Chakma of Arunachal are found in three settlements: Papumpare, Lohit and Changlang Districts. Highest number is in Changlang District. For details,

District Circle Village
Papumpare Balijan Chakma I to X
Lohit Chowkham Chakma I to III
Changlang Miao M’pen (3, 4, 6, 7, 8 Miles), Punyabhumi, Devapuri, Brajapur, Nandakanan, Kamlapuri, Deban I to III, Dharmapur
  Diyun Motripur I,Gautampur II, Shantipur III, Joytipur IV, Oboypur V, Dhompani VI, Dhompator, Udaipur, Joshnapur
  Bordomsa Bijoypur I to III
  Kharsang Milanpur, Gorokhpur, Rathnapur

 

To give a graphic description of the settlements in Changlang district: The villages stretch along the banks of the Noa Dihing river from Kharsang to Innao to Deban. Approximately, about 40 km from Kharsang/Innao to Deban. The area is larger between Kharsang to Innao (about 15 to 20 km) and then reduces to about one KM in Deban.

Due to the proximately to the river, the villages face huge problem during flood seasons. Paddy fields of several families are eroded each year. Moreover, there are no bridges over the River between the villages. Only local made wooden boats are operated that is risky for lives during flood seasons.

Moreover, the road connectivity in all the settlements, except for Diyun area, is in bad condition. The villages under Bijoypur and Dharmapur are surrounded in all sides by the river. Getting in and out of these villages are only by boats in rainy season. The villages in Deban are cut off by landslides most of the year. M’pen villages too are dependent on the mercy of the Pagla nadi (at 6th Mile).

This is the plight of a large chunk of the population of Chakma in Arunachal as given below (Census 2001).

District Total Population ST Population Chakma & Hajong Pop
Changlang 125,422 45,351 59,060
Lohit 125,086 40,552 4,406
Papumpare 122,033 69,007 1,534
Total 65,000