"I don't really need the card, but without it my son cannot make one, nor can my grandsons," explains Manjurani. She has travelled regularly to the administrative offices, 20 km away in Lahan, but has returned empty handed every time. "If I bribed the officers, maybe they would stop troubling me and give me my card," says Manjurani
Majurani along with 40 other landless families in her village have no documents to prove their nationality and most of them have been denied citizenship. Although Dalits who make up one third of Siraha's population are entitled to aquire the cards through a free and convenient process, the district officials have not been following the stipulated procedures. Instead, issuing of citizenship has turned into a lucrative business for civil servants, agents and police.
Even when a team went to the village to issue citizenship cards, the ones with money quickly cashed in. But 70 year old Ram Lakhan was unlucky and his family is still citizenship-less. "Those who had money, got their cards made. Nobody bothered about us," says Ram Lakhan. He adds: "My father was born here and so was I. We are citizens of this country, but just don't have documents to prove it. I am tired of running around, maybe I will just save some money and bribe them."