Cross-border children in citizenship logjamAlthough 25-year-old Saddam Husen of Birendranagar Municipality-10 has been frequenting the local administration to obtain a citizenship certificate for a long time, he is unable to acquire one.
Although 25-year-old Saddam Husen of Birendranagar Municipality-10 has been frequenting the local administration to obtain a citizenship certificate for a long time, he is unable to acquire one.
“My mother is a citizen of Nepal but my father is not. He came to Nepal from India and married my mother. I was born and raised here,” said Saddam.
Saddam said the authority has directed him to bring his father’s citizenship. “My father does not have a citizenship either,” he said.
Saddam and his wife Tasiran said they are unable to register the births of their children and are not able to access the government facilities.
“I wanted to work as a driver but I could not obtain a driver’s license as I do not have a citizenship.” said Saddam.
Gulam Husen, 30, of Belghari also shared a similar ordeal. “Without a citizenship, I could not go abroad for employment,” said Gulam. “My family has been living here for the past 40 years.
Now, I do not know how to acquire citizenships for my children.”
Like Saddam and Gulam, there are several families in Belghari that face a similar problem. “Family members of Indian men who settled here after marrying Nepali women are facing problems,” said Sajuda Miya, a local.
There are around 200 families living in Belghari Tol. Of them, around seven families are deprived of citizenship.
Nasim Baksha, chairman of Belghari Tol Development Association, said the families face difficulties to acquire citizenship because the Nepali constitution does not allow a mother to pass on a citizenship by descent.
Assistant Chief District Officer Binita Bhattarai said, “ We have to work as per the constitution.”