Kathmandu, December 15:

Political leaders representing the terai community today said the Citizenship Act would neither push the country towards “unfortunate” circumstances nor would it lead to a huge influx of Indians into Nepal, even as advocate Bal Krishna Neupane said that Nepal’s existence would come to an end once the Act is implemented.

Dr Ram Baran Yadav, a leader of the Nepali Congress (NC), urged citizens not to be suspicious of the terai people. Speaking at an interaction here today, he said the Citizenship Act was passed to provide citizenship certificates to genuine Nepalis deprived of citizenship.

Ruling out claims that people from Indian neighbouring states will take the advantage of the Act, Yadav said: “Many rich Indians have acquired Nepali citizenship. When Indians can acquire Nepali citizenship so easily, why do we hesitate to provide citizenship to genuine Nepali citizens?”

Dr Bansi Dhar Misra of the CPN-UML ruled out influx from India because of the Citizenship Act. Anil Jha of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandi) also said the Act aimed to provide citizenship to genuine Nepalis.

“Corrupt officials have issued Nepali citizenship certificates to several Indians by taking money from the latter,” he said.

Him Lal Puri of the Janamorcha Nepal (JMN) and Ramesh Thapa of the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party (NWPP) warned that the country would witness a disaster if the Citizenship Act were implemented.

Thapa of the NWPP said: “This Act indicates that the Nepalis are gradually losing their grip over the country.”

Advocates Bishnu Bhattarai and Bal Krishna Neupane warned of “unfortunate” circumstances if the Act were implemented.

Neupane urged the political parties not to make the issue of citizenship a political agenda.