Guwahati: Claiming that thousands of Gorkhas in Assam are still carrying the doubtful ‘D’ voter tag, the Assam Sanmilan (AGS) on Wednesday accused the state government of not showing sincerity in implementing the Union ministry’s notification issued last year.
The Union home ministry, in its notification, said, “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 naturalization 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”.
Stating that many Gorkhas of the state couldn’t make it to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) because of the ‘D’ voters tag and many have been declared ‘foreigners’ by tribunals, AGS secretary Dipak Nirola said had the state government been serious in implementing the Union home ministry notification, the members of community would not continue to suffer in the name of ‘D’ voters or foreigners.
“Over one lakh Gorkhas were excluded from the final NRC draft. One of the prime reasons for exclusion could be because of the ‘D’ voter tag. Our estimate says over 20,000 Gorkhas were served ‘D’ voter notices despite being citizens and many have served in the Indian armed forces. This is harassment,” said Nirola.
Gorkhas are a 25-lakh strong community in the state.
Nirola added that the government should take up the process of freeing the Gorkhas from the ‘D’ voter tag without any further delay and help them in incorporating the names of their family members in the NRC without any hassle.
‘D’ voter is a category in which a person’s citizenship is doubtful and he has to prove the same through legal process in the foreigner’s tribunal. About 1,19,559 names in the draft electoral rolls of September 15, 2018, were marked as ‘D’ voters. Majority of ‘D’ voters belong to Bengali and Muslim communities.
Last month, Mostimaya Limbu (38), a mother of two children from Golaghat district, was released from Jorhat detention camp after being confined there for nine months. Limbu was declared a foreigner in May last year. On November 14 last year, the foreigners’ tribunal in Assam’s Udalguri district declared Tanka Maya Newar (51), a Gorkha widow, as a foreigner for enetering the state from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.