Tribunal judgments declared a number of Gorkhas as foreigners/Bangladeshis
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has rejected outright as many as 29 judgments of foreigners tribunals (FTs) which declared a number of Gorkhas staying in various parts of Assam as foreigners/Bangladeshis.
A bench of the High Court comprising Justice Monojit Bhuyan and Justice Soumitra Saikia clubbed all the 29 separate writ petitions filed by members of the Gorkha community, who have been declared ‘foreigners or Bangladeshis’ by different FTs of the State, and pronounced the common judgment.
The Border Police of Assam caught people belonging to the Gorkha community from various areas of Assam suspecting them to be foreigners on the ground that their mother tongue is Nepalese, and sent them to the FTs. Without getting proper evidences, the FTs too declared such members of the Gorkha community as foreigners or Bangladeshis since they speak ‘Nepali’ as their mother tongue.
The High Court observed that ‘…from the commencement of the Constitution i.e. 26.01.1950, every Gorkha who had his domicile in the territory of India and who was born in the territory of India or either of whose parents was born in the territory of India or who had ordinarily been a resident of India for not less than five years before such commencement, shall be a citizen of India as provided in Article 5 of the Constitution of India’.
The bench further says, “We have undertaken the rigorous exercise to look into the facts appearing in each individual writ petition to find out whether in any way any of the writ petitioners are shown to have any connection or origin or traceable to any territories included in Bangladesh, within the meaning of ‘specified territory’ under Section 6-A (1) © of the Citizenship Act, 1955. In the case of each of the petitioners they are shown to belong to places within the State of Assam, as variously recorded in the Reports of the Local Verification Officer. The mother tongue of the writ petitioners is ‘Nepali’, which is also the language spoken by the citizens of the neighbouring country Nepal, and which language is also specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. This is not to say that a Nepali speaking individual can only have his/her origin at Nepal and not at Bangladesh.”
Meanwhile, Asom Gorkha Sammelan president and senior advocate R.P. Sarmah said that it is a landmark judgment for the entire Gorkha community giving it a succour and its members being clubbed as ‘foreigners/Bangladeshis’.