Gurkhas excluded from Assam’s updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not go to the Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove their citizenship, an umbrella organisation of the community said on Sunday.
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP), representing 10.5 million members of the community across India, justified its stand saying the government had no right to try Indians in such tribunals meant for foreigners.
“The gurkhas of Assam will not go to the Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove their citizenship, as being tried in such tribunals is an insult to their identity as Indians. We can file defamation cases against the system of challenging the citizenship of gurkhas and Nepali-speaking people,” organisation’s president Sukhman Moktan said.
Based on data provided by its local units across the 33 districts of Assam, the BGP said more than 1 lakh gurkhas had been excluded from the final NRC published on August 31. A total of 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants have been kept out of it.
Mr. Moktan said the BGP leaders had been touring Assam to meet the NRC victims and those marked D or doubtful voters and their descendants.
“The NRC guidelines say the gurkhas whose citizenship has been challenged need to go to the Foreigners’ Tribunals despite a notification of exemption by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). This is an attempt of a few vested interests within the system to disrespect Indian gorkhas who are actually original inhabitants as is proved by our historically and mythologically recorded presence since centuries,” Mr. Moktan said.
BGP secretary general Nirmal Kumar Pun said: “No Indian gorkha should be left out of the NRC. As a vigilant civil society organisation, we will play a vital role as it is a judiciary monitored process.”
Nanda Kirati Dewan, BGP’s national secretary, said the organisation had asked the State government to form an empowered committee comprising MHA officials to dispose of the NRC-excluded cases.