Nepal’s citizenship law is affecting the relationship between daughter and bread with India

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Crores of Madhesi living on both sides of the border were pinning hopes on the PM’s visit this time too. But their problem does not seem to be solved even by this visit. The Madhesis who had hopes from the Citizenship Amendment Bill, have lost their hope.

With the visit of Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to India, the ice on Indo-Nepal diplomatic relations, which was frozen for the last few years, has now started melting. It is well known that India and Nepal have a relation between daughter and bread. On this relation, the diplomatic relations of both the countries have not been affected by the frozen ice. In fact, this relationship has flourished for centuries regardless of diplomatic relations and will continue to flourish even further. This relationship of daughter-bread is not determined by Delhi and Kathmandu. The population of crores of people living on both sides of the border has been watering this relationship. However, the relations between Delhi and Kathmandu have been doing the work of obstructing it at times. The majority of the population of millions of people living on both sides of the border are people living in the Terai, which is called Madhesi in Nepal. A long time has passed since the establishment of democracy in Nepal, yet Madhesis are still considered second class citizens there. Before the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, people had hoped that Madhesis would get relief from this law, but with the implementation of this law, it has been proved that the ongoing discrimination against Madhesis in Nepal has not stopped yet.

It is the Madhesis who are the most important link between the relations between India and Nepal. Their roots are connected with India, so whenever there is an anti-India wind in Nepal, the Madhesis are the first targets. In such a situation, Madhesis look towards India with full of hope that India will get them out of trouble. But India has always avoided interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, so India does not help the Madhesis even in such a situation. Last year, when the economic blockade of Nepal was imposed by India, even these people suffered the most. Along with ration-water, these people yearned for basic items like petroleum products for a long time. In Nepal, such pro-India people are addressed as brokers of India or agents of India, but I do not remember that the people who run the wind of China in Nepal have ever had to go through this inferiority complex. Such people may or may not be at the top of power but they are always respected in the society. However, even such people have been troubled by China’s expansionist policy.

However, after the economic blockade, the rulers of Nepal must have understood very well that they cannot strengthen business relations with China even if they want to. It has to strengthen its natural business relations with India. Despite this, the issue that China has started taking some special interest in Nepal remained missing from the bilateral talks between India and Nepal. These days many construction works are going on in Nepal with the help of China. This is not only dangerous for the existence of Nepal, it should not be considered right for India’s security system as well. In recent days, the arrest of foreign nationals on the Nepal border has made the Indian side more concerned in this matter. Nepal has been more adept at receiving donations than other countries. And this is the reason why Pakistan, which itself is in a state of economic distress, has also shown interest in building bridges and culverts in Nepal. Bridges and culverts have been constructed recently with the help of the Government of Pakistan on about ten km long road going from Indian border area to Janakpur. For this, a team of engineers had come from there. The construction of bridges and culverts by the Government of Pakistan in Nepal may be common in Nepal but it is worrying for India. Because having an open border anyone can easily enter India and put our security system in danger. The easier it is to identify foreign nationals at the Indo-Nepal border, the more difficult it is to identify Pakistani nationals. Because Pakistanis come here and speak Hindi well and due to staying for a few days in the Terai region of Nepal, they can easily understand the local language, Maithili and Bhojpuri. In such a situation, infiltration of such people can easily happen in our border area. India should take up this issue seriously with the Government of Nepal.

After Prime Minister Prachanda’s visit to India, it is certain that the strain in the relations between the two countries after the ‘Kala Pani’ border dispute will be somewhat reduced. Nepal will be able to get some additional facilities for itself. Prachanda, who is generally considered to be a supporter of China, must have learned some lesson from the bankruptcy of Sri Lanka after Chinese help. Perhaps this is the reason why this time Prachanda, after becoming the Prime Minister, thought it better to come to India instead of going to China first. That’s why crores of people living on both sides of the border were watching this yatra with full of hope.

It is worth noting that crores of Madhesis living on both sides of the border were pinning their hopes on the PM’s visit this time too. But their problem does not seem to be solved even by this visit. The Madhesis who had hopes from the Citizenship Amendment Bill, have lost their hope. Because only food supply has been done in the name of amendment in the Citizenship Bill. Lakhs of daughters who went to Nepal after getting married from India are still stumbling door to door in Nepal for citizenship. Due to not having permanent citizenship, they have to be deprived of many basic facilities there. Recently, the case of Nepali MP Sita Devi Yadav had shocked and disturbed the Madhesis. She became a Member of Parliament but was not included in the cabinet of Nepal due to not having permanent citizenship. Sita Devi Yadav’s maternal home is a border village in Madhubani district. When Sita Devi was 15 years old, she was married just six km away from her home in Nepal. Her husband Chandrakant Yadav was considered a strong leader of the Nepali Congress who was murdered in the year 2000. He was elected MP from the Nepali Congress and also became a minister there. After his assassination, Sita Devi became active in Nepalese politics and was elected as a Member of Parliament from the Nepali Congress. Despite this, he was barred from becoming a minister because he did not have permanent citizenship of Nepal. The Government of Nepal gives temporary citizenship to Indian daughters brought to Nepal in marriage, which is valid only for seven years. The citizenship given there to Indian daughters after seven years is called adopted citizenship. Adoption citizenship has fewer rights than descent citizenship. According to the new amendment, foreign daughters brought to Nepal after marriage will have to live in Nepal continuously for seven years and after that they will be given adopted citizenship. This period of seven years has been called the ‘cooling period’.

This law of Nepal is also affecting the daughter-bread relationship between India and Nepal. The statistics of marriages between the two countries have started decreasing. The people of India do not want that after marriage their daughters have to face the issue of citizenship. On the other hand, the vigilance being done on the border to prevent smuggling and infiltration has also started turning sour. Because the vigil on the border has worked to curb the movement of wedding processions. Security forces on both sides are equally responsible for this. In fact, efforts are being made to shift this relation of ‘Beti-Roti’ to Delhi and Kathmandu. This relationship should be left where it should be. Delhi and Kathmandu should work to strengthen this relationship. Resolve the hindering elements like the citizenship law together and let this relationship flourish. This Indo-Nepal relation between mango and special is centuries old. Like the relationship between Sita and Ram. The stronger this relationship, the more intense it is, the better it is. Due to these relations, the tensions like ‘black water’ will automatically go away.

-Sachchidananda Satchu

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