BIRATNAGAR, Sept 22: Village Development Committee (VDC) secretaries have warned of protests if they alone are held guilty for providing citizenship to non-Nepali nationals.
At a two-day conference of VDC secretaries of 22 districts east of Chitwan on Friday in Biratnagar, the VDC secretaries demanded that government officials should be held equally responsible for distributing citizenship certificates to non-Nepali nationals.
They have also accused the local administration of investigating only their role in issuing certificates to non-Nepali nationals.
“Though the staffers of respective District Administration Offices (DAOs) are equally responsible, only the VDC secretaries have been targeted,” the VDC secretaries claimed.
Mukunda Gajurel, General Secretary of the VDC Secretaries Rights and Welfare Protection Centre, said, “The roles government officials, who verified the documents, should also come under the purview of investigation,” said Gajurel. “We will protest if only we are held responsible.”
According to the centre, over 70 VDC secretaries working in various districts, especially in the Tarai, have been accused of recommending names of non-Nepali nationals for citizenship certificates. Some of them have already been prosecuted.
Ahead of the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls, the government, giving in to the demand of Madhesh-based political parties, had issued Citizenship Certificates Distribution Guideline-2063 BS, paving the way for hundreds of thousands of people living in the Tarai to obtain Nepali citizenship.
As per the guideline, the DAOs had deployed government staffers in every village to issue citizenship certificates on the basis of recommendations of the political parties and VDC secretaries.