Nepal: Citizenship Ordinance- Victory For People Of Indian Ancestry

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Posted in Featured, International

President of Nepal Bidya Bhandari on May 23 issued an ordinance to amend the Nepali Citizenship Act and this has been lauded by many political experts and has called this a “historical phase in Nepali politics”.

The new ordinance to amend the Citizenship Act, experts believe, induces a sense of achievement among the Madhesh people.

Madheshi is a term used for people of Indian ancestry residing in the Terai of Nepal that comprises various cultural groups such as Hindu caste groups, Muslims, Marwaris and indigenous people of the Terai.

The new ordinance, hence, marks the end of a long struggle of the Madheshi people- at least in one of the several core issues regarding citizenship to a large number of people from the community who are born in Nepal and have a right to citizenship.

The present ordinance is likely to benefit over 5 lakh people who have been waiting on the sidelines for a long time.

It may be mentioned here that the Madhesi people, for many Kathmandu elites, have been traditionally viewed with suspicion and have been considered as an extension of India.

With the narrative of “Anti Indianism being Nepali nationalism” forming the backbone of nationalist sentiments from times immemorial, the demand of the Madheshi people remained unaddressed as successive generations of politicians exploited them to bind the country together on a nationalist agenda.

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