Statelessness and marginalisation: predicaments of 'legal' and 'illegal' immigrants in northeast India
Nava Kishor Das
(Anthropological Survey of India)
Paper short abstract:
There are several ‘stateless’ people northeast India . The Chakmas are denied basic rights. The influx of diaspora is traced to Indian partition and beyond. Immigration is reported from Burma/Myanmar and Nepal also. These issues are subject of an urgent anthropology in border areas.
Paper long abstract:
The influx into northeast India of diaspora is traced mainly to the partition (in 1947) and then in 1964 and then Bangladesh birth in 1970s. Immigration is reported from Burma/Myanmar and Nepal also. It is argued that India's refugee management is yet to take a transparent framework linking human rights, laws and policies, mainly in Northeast which is home to 'indigenous tribespeople'. Multiple sets of laws seem to operate in dealing with 'iimigrants'. Even when people are 'refugees', the question of citizenship unsettled. There are several 'stateless' people spread in northeast India and beyond. The Chakmas are one such 'tribe' who have two segments-one original indigenous and another 'émigré'/ partially recognised as 'refugee', but denied basic rights. Unlike the 'refugee' Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh, the Mizoram Chakmas are citizens of India, but they suffer from other disabilities like minoritiy syndrome.The problem of immigration from Bangladesh is a little over a century old. There are Muslims said to be 'illegal' immgrants. It is alleged by Assamese and many 'indigenous' tribal elites that massive Bangladeshi infiltration took place to Assam and other parts of north eastern states. Sections of Nepalis are similarly regarded as 'illegal' immigrants in northeast. There are areas in northeast such as Tripura where the indigenous tribes have been reduced to a minority over half a century. These issues are subject of an urgent anthropology in border areas.
Situating statelessness: anthropological perspectives (WCAA/Commission on Theretical Anthropology panel)