UDALGURI, Feb 23 � �The Nepali-speaking citizens living in Assam cannot be termed as foreigners and the label of �D� be deleted from their names in the voters� list�. This was the historic verdict of the Gauhati High Court recently. The Udalguri district committee of the Assam Gorkha Sanmelan (AGS) hailed the verdict and termed it as the historic and it thought that �justice was due to this ignored community in the long run.�
Talking to this correspondent, Dipak Nirola, general secretary of the Udalguri district committee expressed happiness and said that it was the victory of the community which has sacrificed blood for the nation. He further said that more than 4000 Gorkha voters of Udalguri district would feel relieved now after the verdict. �Now it is high time for the State Election Commission to start deleting the tag of �D� from the names of the Nepali-speaking voters from the electoral rolls and we do hope that it will honour the verdict,� he added. He also thanked the Nepali-speaking citizens of Tinsukia and Margherita who filed petitions to this effect.
On the other hand, Jagadish Khanal, former president of the All Assam Gorkha Students� Union (AAGSU) also hailed the High Court verdict in the case of the Gorkhas of Margherita area and hoped that the justice will soon be available to all those �D� Gorkhas of the State and complimented both the senior advocates of the Gauhati High Court. Laxmi Sedai, president of BTAD Region Gorkha Sammelan also welcomed the High Court verdict and said that it would pave the way to resolve the long- pending �D� voters imbroglio with the Gorkha community in the State very soon. He also congratulated both advocates RP Sarma and A Tahbildar who dealt with the case in the court.
Meanwhile, RP Sarma, senior advocate of Gauhati High Court who dealt with the case along with another senior advocate Anup Ranjan Tahabildar told this correspondent, �it was a long-pending case and the major demand of the Nepali-speaking people and organisations was solved amicably and though the verdict relieved the �D� Gorkhas of Margherita area only, but soon it would be availed for all Gorkha voters of the State as soon as they apply to the concerned district authority for deleting �D� from their names in the voters� list�.
It is to be noted that 2000 Nepali-speaking voters of Margherita LAC were tagged as �D� voters in the revised voters� list prior to the 2006 Assembly elections. The case was tabled in the Dibrugarh Foreigners Tribunal instantly and after the hearing the Tribunal declared that the voters were not foreigners and also held that the Nepali-speaking voters do not fall under the purview of foreigners like the Bangladeshis. After the significant verdict of the Tribunal, a section of Nepali-speaking leaders submitted copies of petitions to the Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia district and the SDO(C) of Margherita with the arguments of the Tribunal to delete the tag of �D� from the name of the Nepali-speaking voters but the officers concerned held that they could not do it itself. The case was then raised in the Gauhati High Court vide WPC 7957/2005 and the bench of Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma directed the Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia and Margherita to update the voters� list by deleting the tag of �D� from the names of the Nepali-speaking voters of the district by March 31.