KATHMANDU: A key parliamentary panel in Nepal has proposed to amend the country’s Citizenship Act that would require a foreign woman married to a Nepali national to wait seven years for naturalised citizenship.
Nepal’s main opposition parties decried the move, saying it would inconvenience people living in Madhes as cross-border marriage is prevalent there.
Both Nepali Congress (NC) and Janata Samajbadi Party (SJP) have said that such a provision could also affect the ‘bread and bride relations’ that Nepal has had with India for ages.
The Madheshi are residents of Terai region in the south of Nepal at the foothill of the Himalayas on the border with India in Bihar.
The bill to amend the existing Citizenship Act was registered at the Parliament on Sunday. It includes seven rights that a foreign woman married to a Nepali national can exercise till she acquires citizenship certificates.
Lack of a citizenship certificate will not bar them from running any businesses and earn, use and sell any fixed and movable assets, make profits through businesses and get involved in transaction of property of any kind.
The move to amend the citizenship act comes days after the Nepal government completed the process of redrawing the country’s political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating three strategically important Indian areas, a move that could severely jolt relations with New Delhi.