Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
"We are citizens", Nagarik



BIKRAM RAI
Majurani Sada from Siraha district lives with her two sons, their wives and two grandsons in a small hut on a piece of land owned by her landlord. She is a Mushar, one of the most backward Dalit groups in Tarai who typically work as daily wage labourers. Although Majurani was born in Siraha and has lived there all her life, she does not have a citizenship card.

"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."



1. who cares
"He adds: "My father was born here and so was I."

************************************ WHAT ABOUT GREAT GREAT GRAND FATHER!**************


"We are citizens of this country"

tha!


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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