The Centre has issued a clarification to the Assam government on the citizenship status of members of the Gorkha Community living in the state. The Home Ministry has told the Assam government that Gurkhas living in the State cannot be sent to detention centres.
The Home ministry’s order comes after a representation from All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Members of Gorkha community, living in the state, were referred to the Foreigners Tribunals as thousands of them did not find their names in the updated draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on June 30.
An estimated 2.5 million Gurkhas live in Assam. India-Nepal Treaty, signed in 1950, bars Gurkhas from Indian citizenship.
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However, the Home Ministry, in a communication to the Assam government, said that the Gurkhas who were Indian citizens at the time of commencement of the Constitution, or those who are Indian citizens by birth, or those who have acquired Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 are not “foreigners”. Therefore, such cases will not be referred to the Foreigners Tribunals.
In a statement by the Ministry said, “Any member of the Gurkha community holding Nepalese nationality and who has arrived in India by land or air over the Nepal border even without a passport or visa and staying in India for any length of time shall not be treated as an illegal migrant if he/she is in possession of any of the identity documents, namely the Nepalese Passport, Nepalese Citizenship Certificate, voter identification card issued by the Election Commission of Nepal”.