Damak, October 29:

The indigenous Santhals of Jhapa district are migrating to India as they have not got Nepali citizenship certificates.

The Santhals, who are living at Gauradaha, Lakhanpur, Gaurigunj, Juropani, Mahabhara and Korobari VDCs of southern Jhapa, said they are facing various problems due to the lack of citizenship certificates.

Bishwo Nath Murmi, 80, of Lakhanpur VDC said: “We have been living here for the past six decades but we are yet to receive citizenship certificates.” He lamented that due to the lack of a certificate he was deprived of getting old-age allowances provided by the government.

He added: “We settled here after clearing the forest. Those days, we had to watch out for wild animals also. So many years have passed, but we are denied citizenship certificates.”

His family members also failed to receive citizenship certificates in the absence of his citizenship certificate.

Resake Hemaram of Lakhanpur-4 said: “We have no proof of our being Nepali citizens. Some neighbours have already migrated to Gaurigunj and India due to lack of citizenship certificates.”

“For the past two years, Santhals are migrating to India,” said Lakhi Ram Santhal of Santhal Youth Club, Lakhanpur.