'Citizenship can only identify a Nepali'


While the major three parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML -- have been keeping mum, fringe parties and some organisations based in Kathmandu have continued to condemn the Election Commission (EC)'s decision not to make citizenship a compulsory document while issuing voter's ID in Tarai.

In a statement on Monday, Rastriya Jagaran Parishad said the EC decision was highly condemnable as it fails to understand the its implication in national security as the chances of the facility being misused were high given the poor security situation and open Nepal-India border. "There are no other documents that can replace or work as the citizenship certificate," reads a press release issued by the Parishad. "EC's earlier provision to issue voter ID based on citizenship was the right decision and it should be revived."

On Thursday, Rastriya Jana Morcha Party, a fringe party, had also condemned the EC decision stating that there was no need to consider recognising other government documents while issuing voter ID when any Nepali can get citizenship certificate within 24 hours. Jana Morcha had warned that if EC decision was to be implemented, it would turn Nepal into Fiji.

Following pressure from the Madhes-based parties, the EC on Nov. 3 had taken the decision that it would issue voter ID to those who does not have citizenship based on any other government document on the person's identification. Madhes-based parties had obstructed the EC's initiative in Tarai districts since the project was launched on Sept. 15 demanding that the citizenship should not be made compulsory while issuing voter ID.

Parisad also stated that given the fragile security situation in Tarai, it was almost impossible for the local bodies to issue documents only to the real Nepalis. EC decision stated that it would issue voter ID to any person without citizenship if he can bring a recommendation from local bodies. Parishad is preparing to challenge the EC decision at the Supreme Court (SC).

EC has, however, ruled out that its decision would allow non-Nepalis to get voter ID.

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