Children of citizens by birth denied citizenship share their plight

Kathmandu, August 22

Children of citizens by birth who could not get their citizenship in last three years due to non-enactment of a federal law narrated their heartbreaking tales today at an interaction organised by Tarai Human Rights Defenders Alliance.

Pooja Chaudhary, who passed Institute of Engineering exam last year, with her score among 250 candidates, said she could secure admission only because of the Supreme Court order. “My father is a citizen by birth and my mother a citizen by descent. My elder siblings are also Nepali citizens. I went through hell to get enrolment in the college. I could fill up my form only a few minutes before the deadline,” she said with tears trickling down her cheeks.

Chaudhary said had the court not ruled in her favour, she would not have been able to enrol in Pulchowk Engineering College. She said she faced constant rebuke from one of her teachers for not producing her citizenship certificate.

Sweta Srivastav, who could not take her nursing exam for six months due to lack of citizenship, said her father died before obtaining citizenship and her mother who was a citizen by birth also died.  “DAO officials denied my citizenship because I could not submit a copy of my father’s citizenship,” she said and added that she had given a copy of her mother’s citizenship and also the copies of her siblings’ citizenship.  She is a conflict victim. Her father died during the conflict and her mother was injured during people’s movement. She said she was entitled to Rs 5,000 government allowance a month during her childhood but she could not get any penny due to lack of citizenship. “I was told that I would have to file a case in the court to get the allowance,” she said.

Arjun Sah from Mahottari said his mother was a Nepali citizen by descent and his father, an Indian national living with his mother in Nepal, and yet he could not obtain naturalised citizenship. He said the SC had ordered the government to provide him with all facilities on par with Nepali citizens but the authorities denied those facilities.

Kalpana Sah, a resident of Sarlahi, said she could not obtain her citizenship due to non-enactment of a federal law. “My father is a citizen by birth and since I do

not have my citizenship, the Nursing Council has not issued my nursing licence. I have not been able to join any job for last one year,” she said.