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Is this Bihar MLA a citizen of Nepal?

September 05, 2007 13:55 IST

Bihar Legislative Assembly member Nagina Devi's name has been removed from the voters' list of her constituency after she failed to provide documents proving that she is an Indian citizen.

Nagina Devi, a MLA of the Lok Janshakti Party, was elected from the Bathnaha constituency in Sitamarhi district. However, it was recently revealed that she is a citizen of Nepal.

"Nagina Devi's name was struck off after she failed to produce any documentary proof of her Indian citizenship," said Sitamarhi's District Magistrate Suman Kumar. He had submitted the papers related to her case to Bihar's chief electoral officer.

Nagina Devi's name was removed from the voters' list on the orders of the chief electoral officer, who asked the MLA to explain why her name should be included in the list.

Jha she that she was born in 1958 in her grandparent's house at Bhagwanpur village in Bathnaha and she is therefore a citizen of India. But Jha rejected her claims in the absence of any documentry proof.

The Home Ministry had confirmed a few months ago that Nagina Devi is a citizen of Nepal. 'The home ministry report was based on Sitamarhi's district magistrate Suman Kumar's report, following a complaint by a political activist,' official sources said.

The Home Ministry report had asked Bihar's Home Department to look into the issue. "Marriage to an Indian does not qualify any one to become an Indian citizen unless he or she has formally applied for it," said officials.

The Sitamarhi district magistrate, in his report to the Home Ministry, said that there was no evidence of Nagina Devi's Indian citizenship and she has failed to provide any documentary proof to support it. It was also reported that she had changed her name in the voters' list from time to time.

Since 1995, her name has been listed as Nagina Devi in the voters' list, but before that she was listed as Manorma Devi.
The controversy about Nagina's citizenship began last year, when a lawyer challenged Nagina's election in the Patna High Court. The court directed Sitamarhi's district magistarte and the Union Home Ministry to submit a report about the matter.

Nagina Devi told in Patna on Wednesday that she would appeal to the chief election commission and also seek legal recourse. "The removal of my name from the voters' list was wrong, " she said.

But Bihar's Home Secretary Afzaql Amanullah said that the Union Home Ministry will decide whether Nagina Devi is citizen of India or not. If it is proved that she is a citizen of Nepal and was elected on the basis of fake affidavits, the state government will take action as per the directive of the Centre.



Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna