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Gorkhas not to visit Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove citizenship


Guwahati, September 22: The Gorkhas, whose names have been exluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, will not visit Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove their Indian citizenship, a community body said on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference here, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) national president Sukhman Moktan said that Gorkhas being tried in the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) will be an “insult to us for being Indians,” he said.
“We can file defamation suit against the system for challenging the citizenship of Gorkhas and Nepali speaking population being taken to FT”, Moktan, who heads the only registered national organisation, representing 10.5 million Indian Gorkhas in 22 state units and five zones, said.
The BGP had organised a week-long tour across Assam to meet the victims of the Gorkha community who were not included in the NRC and directed to appeal against it at Foreigners’ Tribunals.
During the visit to 18 districts that ended on Sunday, Moktan said they found that names of many Gorkhas had been left out from the final NRC list.
“We met NRC victims and arbitrarily marked D Voters and their descendents whose citizenship is challenged and are being directed to go to FT as per NRC guidelines while a recent Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification exempts the Gorkhas.
“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,” Moktan said.
Nirmal Kumar Pun, BGP secretary general said, “No Indian Gorkhas should be left out of the NRC. As a vigilant civil society organisation, the BGP will play a vital role as it is a judiciary monitored process”.
On being asked whether the BGP is planning to take the state government to High Court for the delay in filing fresh writ petition to uphold the MHA notification, Nityananda Upadhyay, president, Assam State Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) said, “BGP is a party to the NRC case in the Supreme Court of India.
“If the Government of Assam does not do its duty as directed by the Union of India, the BGP will take a policy decision to take the matter to the Supreme Court and make the state government party to it and contest the case to ensure that Gorkhas are not taken to Foreigners’ Tribunals.”
On Saturday a BGP delegation had urged Chief Secretary Alok Kumar to implement the MHA notification.
The chief secretary was urged to form an Empowered Committee to address the woes of the Gorkha community regarding exclusion of many of their names from the NRC, BGP national secretary Nanda Kirati Dewan had said.
More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants have been excluded from the final NRC, released in Assam last month.
Those excluded from the list published on August 31 have 120 days to appeal against it at Foreigners’ Tribunals.
If not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunals, they can move the High Court and the Supreme Court for redress. (PTI)