Gurkhas not to be tagged as foreigners, orders Assam govt

This is in keeping with Aug. 4 Cabinet decision to exempt community from cases in Foreigners’ Tribunals

The Assam government’s Political Department on Tuesday issued a notification ordering the State police’s Border wing not to forward any case against Gurkhas to the Foreigners’ Tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act of 1946.

The official notification follows the Himanta Biswa Sarma Cabinet’s decision on August 4 to exempt the community from being tagged as non-citizens and tried in the tribunals for ascertaining their citizenship or detaining and deporting them.

The Border wing is tasked with identifying people of doubtful citizenship and serving them notices for a Foreigners’ Tribunal – a quasi-judicial establishment – to take over.

According to the 2011 census, Assam has more than 5 lakh Gurkhas, most of whom came as members of armed forces under the British administration. Leaders of the community said about 22,000 Gurkhas were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens published on August 31, 2019.

The cases of some 2,500 Gurkhas are pending in a few of the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam. All such cases are to be withdrawn, a government directive said.

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