Yadav, Sah oppose parliamentary panel’s decision

Kathmandu, June 22

Two influential Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders from Madhes Matrika Prasad Yadav and Prabhu Sah have opposed the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee’s decision to grant naturalised citizenship to foreign women married to Nepali men only after seven years of marriage.

Yadav issued a press release saying that the decision to have seven-year waiting period for granting marital naturalisation citizenship was against the spirit of the people’s war and the Madhes uprising.

He said some people were citing Indian citizenship act’s provision to argue in favour of having a seven-year waiting period for granting naturalised citizenship, which was a misinterpretation of the Indian citizenship law. Yadav also stated that the former CPN-Maoist had agreed to promulgate the Interim Constitution, 2007 without incorporating federalism as Mandale nationalism dominated the party and promulgation of the constitution led to the Madhes uprising. “Therefore I urge all to get rid of Mandale nationalism before it is too late and forge consensus on the citizenship law,” Yadav stated in his statement.

Yadav said that it was a known fact that Madhesis and other deprived communities have expressed their resentment against the constitution as it curtailed their rights.

Nepal has been enjoying cultural, religious, linguistic and economic relations with India since Vedic era. This is the main reason the two countries share roti-beti (bread and bride) bond. Nepalis living in the border areas have marital relations with people across the border. Seven-year waiting period will render Nepali daughters-in-law stateless for seven years and will deprive them of their political, economic and cultural rights, Yadav added. Yadav also said that Madhesis were deprived of citizenship rights after the Gorkha state was formed and the present decision of having seven-year waiting period would further victimise the Madhesi people.

Yadav said while Article 289 of the constitution barred naturalised citizens from holding some top key posts against the spirit of the Interim Constitution, SAGGC’s decision to have seven -year waiting period was another problematic proposal that lacked merit and rationale.

He said in Nepal, citizenship was the minimum condition for enjoying political and legal rights, but there was no such restriction in India.

Another NCP leader Sah said he talked to party Cochair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other top leaders of the party and he was confident that the party would rethink the party Secretariat’s decision to make foreign women married to Nepali men wait for seven years to obtain naturalised citizenship on the basis of matrimonial relations.

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress lawmaker Jitendra Narayan Dev also opposed the SAGGC’s decision in the NA today.

“I am deeply pained that the NCP Secretariat leaders, who spent all their lives in political struggle, have taken this decision,” he said and added that those leaders’ short-sightedness and immature decision would incite communal violence and even divide the country in the long run.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.