Nepal citizens producing Indian Aadhaar cards near border

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Champawat (Uttarakhand): Amid stale bilateral ties between India and Nepal, authorities along the Nepal border near Uttarakhand have warned of a possible security threat after they witnessed long queues of people lining up near the Banbasa border to get Indian Aadhaar cards so that they can cross over.

Himanshu Kafaltia, the Subdivisional magistrate (SDM) of Tanakpur, a small town near the border, on Wednesday claimed that many Nepali citizens vising India through Banbasa were using Indian Aadhaar cards at the border.

“The issue regarding security risk has come to the fore as most Nepalis show Aadhaar cards. I have raised this issue before higher authorities,” the SDM said.

All checkpoints along the India-Nepal border have been closed since March 25 since the first coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced.

“During checking, we ask people to produce any identification document to prove that they are working in India, like an identification card issued by a contractor or anything else. It has come to the fore that a lot of people are showing Aadhaar cards. Since an Aadhaar card is residential proof, we accept it. Meanwhile, the issue regarding security risk has come up. I have raised this issue before higher authorities,” he said.

The International Suspension Bridge in Dharchula was last operational for nine hours on November 18. Upon the request of the Nepal government, Dharchula SDM on Wednesday issued an order to reopen the India-Nepal International Suspension Bridge to permit the movement of migrants.

Following the new advisory, the bridge at Dharchula was reopened for two days a week – Saturday and Wednesday.

Prior to this, the bridge was opened on October 22 for a period of three days so that Nepali citizens who had served in the Indian Army and other Indian organisations could cross over and collect their pensions.

In November, 23 Nepali citizens were found to be Covid-19 positive by India’s health team at Banbasa, a health official said.

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