Govt draws Maoist flak on citizenship bill

Kathmandu, November 28:

A leader of the CPN-Maoist today raised strong objection against the recently-passed citizenship bill, saying it was passed without seeking consent of the Maoists. “We have a strong reservation on the citizenship bill. There is no question that the problem of citizenship should be solved. But we are very unhappy with the process through which it was passed,” Dev Gurung said at the Reporters’ Club today.

“The bill was passed in haste at a time when the whole country is putting pressure to dump the old constitution and have an Interim Constitution,” he said, adding: “The bill was passed taking advantage of a fluid political situation.” According to him, the law has opened doors to all possibilities for those who want to misuse “our desire to let all Nepali citizens own citizenship certificates.”

Leader of Jana Morcha Nepal Lilamani Pokhrel said that by passing the citizenship bill, some elements in politics are trying to delay the process of the election to the constituent assembly. He raised question over the government’s plan to spend “excessively” in the name of helping the People’s Liberation Army. “The Maoists have been saying that Rs 280 million is going to be enough for management of the PLA, but the government has come up with a plan to spend Rs 1.5 billion,” he said.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply, Hridayesh Tripathi, said the bill was passed as per the agreement made among the eight parties and in the spirit of the declaration of the House of Representative. “It is going to solve a problem that has been persisting for long,” he said, adding that it is an appropriate law as some claim it is too much and others claim it is not enough.