NEW DELHI, Oct 10 - In a significant development, the Centre on Wednesday clarified the citizenship status of the Gorkha community living in Assam according to the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
The Centre’s clarification came following a representation from the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last month regarding some cases of members of the Gorkha community living in Assam being referred to the foreigners tribunals.
Official sources said that the Ministry of Home Affairs in a communication to the Government of Assam has listed various provisions to obviate the difficulties faced by the Gorkhas in the matter of Indian citizenship. The letter dated September 24 stated that the Gorkha community, 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” in terms of section 2(a) of the Foreigners Act, 1946 as well as the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939. Therefore, such cases will not be referred to the foreigners tribunals, it said.
The letter further emphasised that any member of the Gorkha 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 or 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, limited validity photo identity certificate issued by the Nepalese Mission in India when deemed necessary, and for children in the age group of 10-18 years, photo ID issued by the principal of the school, if accompanied by parents having valid travel documents. No such document is required for children below the age of 10 years, the communication added, citing provisions of the India-Nepal Treaty signed in 1950.