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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Citizenship India’s issue: Nepal ‘reassured’ by Amit Shah’s statements

A top Nepalese government source said that Nepal is reassured by the statements of senior Indian ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh that no Nepalese-origin people will face any problems.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Kathmandu | Updated: January 26, 2020 8:35:08 pm
Citizenship India’s issue: Nepal ‘reassured’ by Amit Shah's statements Nepali speakers settled in Assam – which was never under Nepalese sovereignty – centuries ago. “If there are any problems, we can talk and resolve,” the source maintained. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

As about one lakh Gorkhas have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the Gorkha community in India has reached out to the Nepalese government with their concerns.

Although there have been no formal or official conversations between Kathmandu and Delhi, a top Nepalese government source said that Nepal is reassured by the statements of senior Indian ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh that no Nepalese-origin people will face any problems.

Stressing that it is an “issue of India and its people,’’ the source stressed that the concerned Nepali-speaking people are “local” to India, as they are native to the territory that had been ceded from Nepal long ago.

Read | How first NDA regime created the crisis that its new citizenship law deepens

Nepali speakers settled in Assam – which was never under Nepalese sovereignty – centuries ago. “If there are any problems, we can talk and resolve,” the source maintained.

However, there should not be “any confusion that Nepali-speaking people are Indian”, the source said.

When the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on August 31 last year, more than 1.9 million applicants, whose names were missing, were told that they would have to file appeals at one of the 200 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) established for the purpose across Assam. However, around 60,000-1,00,000 of those left out of the NRC from the Gorkha community are angry and refusing to do so. Gorkha is a community from an ancient kingdom in western Nepal. They were first brought to the Assam as workers and soldiers by British colonisers, when the latter annexed the northeastern state in the early 19th century.

When asked whether members of the Gorkha community have sought the help of Nepal government over the issue, a Nepal government source told visiting Indian journalists here that they were assured by the statements of India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah that no Nepali-speaking person will face problems.

“We haven’t spoken to the Indian government regarding NRC. They (Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah) have made it clear. It has not been necessary to talk about it,” the source said.

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