‘New provision of citizenship could incite communal violence and eventually lead to the disintegration of the country’
KATHMANDU, June 22: The main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has accused the government of tilting more toward China even as it expressed commitment to pursue equidistance relations with both immediate neighbors of Nepal.
Addressing the National Assembly (NA) meeting on Monday, NC lawmaker Jitendra Dev alleged that all the activities of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) over the past two years were deviated from Nepal’s policy of maintaining equidistant relations with both India and China.“You have not followed the principle of equidistance relation in all your activities in the past two years. Your foreign policy is one-sided. You are taking [the country] toward one neighbor,” he said.
Lawmaker Dev said that NC does not have anything to say if the NCP leaders decide to take their party into that direction, but the country must pursue the equidistance policy. “You take your party in that direction. We have nothing to say. Organized a meeting with Chinese Communist Party for 50 times. We have nothing to say,” he said. “But this country must stick to the equidistance principle. We should not keep one in the front and another in the back when it comes to our relations with India and China.”
Lawmaker Dev said that it is unfortunate to see a message that the ruling NCP is taking Nepal toward the Chinese camp. “The ruling party has been attacking the foundation of our foreign policy since 1951. Now there is a message going out that we are moving toward the Chinese camp. Is this the right thing happening now? Does this help to strengthen our federal democratic republic system? Does this strengthen our internal nationalism?” he asked.
Referring to the decision of the ruling NCP to introduce a provision to grant naturalized citizenship to a foreign woman married to a Nepali national, lawmaker Dev also asked the NCP not to attack Nepal-India relations that have subsisted since ages. “Politics is guided by mind. But cultural relations are about heart to heart relations. These are the relations of hearts. You do not have the right to attack anyone’s culture,” he further said.
Amid objection from the NC and Janata Samajbadi Party, the parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives on Sunday endorsed an amendment bill on the Citizenship Act with a provision to grant naturalized citizenship to foreign women married to Nepali nationals seven years after their marriage. He warned that the decision made on citizenship could incite communal violence and eventually lead to the disintegration of the country.
Stating that the provisions introduced in the Citizenship Act aim at stopping the cross-border marriage between Nepal and India, lawmaker Dev warned that such an attempt could bring political disaster in the country. “If a political disaster occurs by the way you are acting on the basis of classical ideology with a thinking to take Nepal to the Chinese camp and cut the relations with India by force, you will all have to go to jail together,” he warned.
Lawmaker Dev also said that it is hollow nationalism to think that Nepal’s nationalism is strengthened by cutting the marital relations with Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. “This decision is based on anti-nationalism and anti-Madhesi nationalism. This is not the concept upheld by any progressive political party,” he added.