A saying goes: your home is where your heart lives. In its historic decision, the Indian Supreme Court decided a long time back defining that citizenship is purely related to love, affection and attachment with a particular country.
Nepal’s Supreme Court has also made several landmark decisions on citizenship, some very much influenced by the Indian Supreme Court verdict.
However, in the life J.P. Cross, a British national living in Nepal for over five decades now with great attachment and affection, the exception applies. Whenever a Nepali is denied a visa by the U.K Immigration office or the rights of Nepali retired Gurkhas are denies in England, a hue and cry starts back home. Even the families of Nepalese origin, residing in the U.K., are suing the government seeking the citizenship right to their family members and hundreds of Nepalese have already secured British citizenship or permanent residency. However, there is rarely anybody to demand similar rights in Nepal to a British national. Their voice is unheard.
Although J.P. Cross, a retired British Army serving the British Gurkha, is almost over ninety, living in Nepal over the decades, the government is yet to take a decision on his citizenship. After the success of the People’s Movement II, over 3 million citizenship certificates were issued to the people of Indian origin. However, J.P. Cross was not among them.
He meets all the criteria required for Nepalese citizenship on the basis of domicile. The Citizenship Act and Interim Constitution have provisions to provide Nepali naturalized citizenship to foreigners who complete certain criteria.
J.P. Cross, who has spent almost 68 years in close association with Nepalis as soldier, scholar and resident, has written a number of books on Nepal, and can speak Nepali fluently. Sadly, Nepali state, intellectuals and professional communities, for whom he sacrificed his entire life, are yet to come out. Even the government of Nepal is yet to recognize his scholarly contributions made to protect Nepal’s history.
After the amendment of Citizenship Act 2020 B.S and amending the constitution and regulation, more than 3.8 million people have already secured citizenship in Nepal. However, J. P. Cross, despite his immense contribution to Nepal, does not figure among them. His citizenship application is still pending in the Ministry of Home Affairs. He wants citizenship certificate by domicile.
There are several organizations pleading the rights of Nepalese Gurkhas, who served in the British Army at one or the other time. However, nobody has been speaking anything for the genuine cause of J.P. Cross, who completed honors degree in Nepali from the Tribhuwan University. His fluency is of a high order, as he is often mistaken for a Nepali. He has already written nine books. His last book was The Throne of Stone.
JB Cross walked over 10,000 miles of Nepal and is known far and wide, especially among the hills people. He was losing his sight and was led and looked after by his surrogate son, Buddhiman Dura. After regaining partial sight, he was given the unique and benevolent privilege by late King Birendra of being the only none-Nepali to be a land- and house-owner in his own right, as well as, beginning permanent resident.
Buddhiman’s villagers see him and his surrogate father as having been of the same family in a previous incarnation and fated to meet up eventually. Likewise, they will be together in a future incarnation.
If one stays for fifteen years continually in Nepal, he or she is eligible for a Nepali citizenship. Living in Nepal for more than six decades, Cross deserves a Nepali citizenship in every way. Nepal has three ways to give citizenship, by parentage or decent, domicile or naturalization. One can get it by marriage as well. The third is by birth. Australia, America and Japan have this kind of provision.
At a time Nepal government is pressing for other countries to honour Nepalese interests, Nepal government has to offer Nepalese citizenship to J.P. Cross, who is more patriotic than many others. If Nepal fails to respect the international norms and fail to work in reciprocity, it will have to face many difficulties