Protests flare up in Province 2 against citizenship amendment billJanata Samajbadi leaders warn of intensifying their protests if the bill is not withdrawn.
Protests are being held in different parts of Province 2 against the provisions of the citizenship amendment bill that allow naturalised citizenship for foreign women married to Nepali men only after seven years.
At a rally taken out in Janakpur, the provincial headquarters, on Tuesday, several provincial ministers, members of the provincial assembly and elected representatives marched alongside the demonstrators to show their solidarity.
The rally was organised by the Janata Samajbadi Party, Nepal and among the notable participants were Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Gyanendra Kumar Yadav, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperative Shailendra Prasad Sah, provincial assembly members Prameshwor Sah and Shailendra Yadav, and Mayor of Janakpurdham Lal Kishore Sah.
Several leaders from the Janata Samajbadi Party who addressed the rally claimed that the proposed seven-year naturalisation period was discriminatory against women.
They also warned of intensifying their protests if the bill to amend the Citizenship Act is not withdrawn.
Prameshwor Sah, the provincial assembly member, accused the federal lawmakers of conspiring to end the “roti-beti” relationship between Nepal and India.
“The culture of marriage between Indian and Nepali citizens is a long one, one that dates to Treta Yug, when Ram and Sita were married,” Sah said, referring to the popular Hindu mythology. “Nepalis and Indians are in a family-like relationship. Any attempts to disturb such a relationship won’t be tolerated.”
Mayor Sah suggested the federal government withdraw the amendment bill and focus on its coronavirus response instead.
The Janata Samajbadi Party has been protesting in Janakpur against the amendment bill for over the weeks now. Thep party also took out a rally in Sarlahi and Bara districts on Tuesday.
“This bill that is prejudiced and discriminatory should be withdrawn,” Pramod Gupta, a leader of the Janata Samajbadi Party, said while addressing the rally in Bara.
Meanwhile, protests against the bill have also been ongoing in Biratnagar, the capital of Province 1.
The parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee on June 21 had endorsed an amendment bill on the Citizenship Act 2063, with the provision that foreign women married to Nepali men will have to wait for seven years to acquire naturalised citizenship.
The House committee had been debating the bill for the last two years. The committee went ahead with the provision of seven-year naturalisation period after the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) took a decision to that effect.
Nepali Congress, Samajbadi Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal have opposed the provision, calling it unconstitutional and against the provision of the interim constitution 2006, as per which the Citizenship Act 2063 allowed foreign women to acquire naturalised citizenship immediately after getting married to Nepali men.