Bihar legislator is now ‘not an Indian citizen’


Patna : It can only happen in Bihar. A Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) legislator has been found to be not a citizen of India but of Nepal, and her name struck off the voter list.

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LJP legislator Nagina Devi’s name was removed from the voter list on the orders of Sitamarhi Sub Divisional Officer Bharat Jha. She represents the Bathnaha constituency.

“Yes, her name was removed after she failed to produce any documentary evidence to prove her Indian citizenship,” Jha said Friday.

Jha said he had ordered the removal of her name from the voters’ list after receiving a letter from the chief electoral officer of Bihar. He had asked Nagina Devi to explain how her name had figured in the list.

In her explanation, Nagina Devi said she was born in 1958 at her grandmother’s house at Bhagwanpur village in Bathnaha block in Sitamarhi district and on the basis of her birth she was a citizen of India. But Jha rejected her claims in the absence of any documentary proof showing she was born in Bathnaha.

A few months ago, the home ministry had said in its report that Nagina Devi was not an Indian citizen. Only an Indian citizen can contest elections in the country.

“The home ministry report was based on facts provided by Sitamarhi district magistrate Suman Kumar following a complaint by a political activist,” official sources said.

According to the home ministry report, Nagina Devi had married an Indian national, but she cannot be treated as an Indian citizen on the basis of her marriage.

The home ministry report had asked the state home department to take up the issue and act as per law.

The district magistrate in his inquiry report to the home ministry said there was no evidence of Nagina Devi’s Indian citizenship and she has failed to provide any documentary proof in her support. It was also reported that she had changed her name in the voter list from time to time.

In 1995 her name figured as Nagina Devi in the list, but in the earlier list she was identified as Manorama Devi.

When asked about the legislator, Bihar Home Secretary Afzaql Amanullah said: “It is for the union home ministry to decide whether Nagina Devi is a citizen of India or not. If she is a citizen of Nepal and got elected by producing a fake affidavit the state government will take action as per the directive of the central government.”

Amanullah told IANS that the issue of granting citizenship lies with the union home ministry; “it is not in our hands”.

The controversy came to light last year when a lawyer challenged Nagina’s election on the ground that she was a Nepalese. The local court then directed the Sitamarhi district magistrate and the home ministry to submit a report on the matter.

The home ministry, in its letter dated May 15, had observed that under Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act, just being married to an Indian did not naturally qualify someone to become an Indian citizen.