Nepali passports made with forged documents have worried Indian authorities about them being used by terrorists for gaining illegal entry through the open border between both nations.
Nepal's office of the Prime Minister and council of ministers (OPMCM) suspects thousands of nearly 50,000 passports issued between April and September 2010 could be fakes, says a report in Thursday’s Republica.
Distribution of machine readable passports (MRPs) will begin soon in Nepal. But till that happens, manual passports, which are easy to forge, are a concern for India.
"Manual passports are easy to forge and nearly 20-30 of them go missing daily in Nepal. Non-Nepalis could use them to enter India and cause trouble," a senior Indian diplomat said recently.
A recent US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks mentions former Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor claiming 16 terrorists entered India from Nepal in the first six months of 2009.
Alarm bells started ringing in OPMCM after the Nepali embassy in Kuwait reported of 34 forged passports recently. All these passports were issued between April and September this year.
The OPMCM noted that while only around 1200 passports were issued daily from 75 districts earlier, since April when distribution shifted to Kathmandu, nearly 2500 passports were issued per day.
"More than 50,000 passports could have been issued based on forged documents within the period as ministry of foreign affairs officials didn’t follow the proper citizenship verification mechanism," the Republica quoted OPMCM secretary Lila Mani Paudyal.
The OPMCM has directed the foreign ministry to decentralize passport distribution so that documents can be verified better and a forensic unit set up to detect dubious documents.