Union Home Ministry on Wednesday told the Assam government that members of Gorkha community living in the state can neither be sent to detention centres nor their cases on citizenship status be tried at various Foreigners Tribunals.
The Election Commission had referred the cases of some members of the community to Foreigners Tribunals, as their names were included on the voters list in contravention to the India-Nepal Treaty, 1950, which bars them from Indian citizenship, a government official said.
In its communication, the MHA said members of Gorkha community, who were Indian citizens at the time of commencement of the Constitution, or those who are Indian citizens by birth, or those who acquired Indian citizenship by registration or naturalization in accordance with the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955, were not “foreigners” and therefore, such cases could not be referred to Foreigners Tribunals.
MHA issued the clarification to the government of Assam following a representation from the All-Assam Gorkha Students’ Union to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“Any member of the Gorkha community, holding Nepalese nationality and who has arrived in India by land or air over the Nepal border even without a passport or visa and staying in India for any length of time, shall not be treated as an illegal migrant if he/she is in possession of any of the identity documents namely the Nepalese Passport, Nepalese Citizenship Certificate, voter identification card issued by the Election Commission of Nepal, limited validity photo-identity certificate issued by Nepalese Mission in India when deemed necessary and for children between age group of 10 and 18 years, photo identity issued by principal of a school, if accompanied by parents having valid travel documents as per the provisions of India-Nepal Treaty signed in 1950,” the statement said.
It clarified that only those “individuals, who have come from specified territories, including Bangladesh, immediately before commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985, to the Assam, and are not Indian citizens, can be referred to the Foreigners Tribunals”.