Nepal rejects ‘fake’ Chamling papers

January 21st, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyKathmandu, Jan 21 (IANS) As the chief minister of an Indian state became the latest high-profile public figure to become embroiled in a controversy over his nationality, a Nepali weekly here took up cudgels on his behalf Wednesday, calling the documents tabled by his critics fake and an attack on Nepal’s sovereignty and integrity.After singer Udit Narayan Jha and Nepali Minister Ram Chandra Jha, Pawan Chamling, chief minister of India’s northeastern Sikkim state, is in the eye of a storm over his nationality. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this month asked India’s Election Commission to sack him on the ground that Chamling is allegedly a foreigner who comes from neighbouring Nepal.

In a bid to discredit Chamling, who is also chief of the Sikkim Democratic Front party, the local BJP leadership in Sikkim has distributed documents to the media to establish that Chamling also holds Nepali citizenship.

The documents include photocopies of Chamling’s alleged Nepali citizenship certificate, the inclusion of his family’s names in Nepal’s census list and receipts to show he paid house tax - Rs.10 - in Nepal.

With the BJP threatening it is going to court with its claim, Nepal’s Jana Aastha weekly Wednesday took up the cause of the beleaguered Indian minister, saying the bid to drag him into a controversy by calling him a Nepali was also an attempt to malign Nepalis.

According to the weekly, the citizenship certificate distributed by the BJP is fake. The certificate reportedly says the Indian minister was born in Sanischare village in eastern Nepal’s tea garden district of Ilam.

The census document, which says Chamling as well as his wife Tikamaya, son Vijay, daughter Sheela and daughter-in-law Vinita are residents of Budhbare village in Ilam, is dated 2008.

However, both Budhbare and Sanishchare are in Jhapa district and not Ilam, as claimed by the documents and in 2008, there was no local development authority in Nepal due to the political changes to issue such documents, the weekly said.

It has also quoted the district administration official concerned as saying that the citizenship code in the documents is wrong.

With Chamling’s opponents in Sikkim, the National People’s Party, jumping into the fray and calling a Sikkim shutdown next Monday as well as clamouring for the chief minister’s resignation, the weekly said the nationality issue was whipped up as Chamling was expanding his sphere of influence in New Delhi.

“The fake documents about Nepal raise questions about how the BJP obtained them,” the weekly said. “Nepal’s sovereignty and the integrity of Nepalis have also been dragged into the dispute.”

It is also asking Nepal’s foreign affairs ministry to seek a clarification as to how the Indian party obtained “fake” Nepali documents.

Since the “fake” documents bear the signature of a Nepali district administration official, it is Nepal’s duty to initiate an investigation to find out how the forgery was done, the weekly said.

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