You are here because you either heard about Bhutan or the so-called Bhutanese Refugees. With the recent resettlement program offered by countries led by the USA, the so-called Bhutanese Refugees have reached many foreign lands from where they have sped up their smearing campaign against Bhutan using falsified information and lies. We, the people of Bhutan, no doubt sympathize with the plight of these people, but the lies and false information spread by these people may come to be believed as the 'truth' unless we offer the other side of the story too to the world. This website was born to meet this need and as such, we provide here links to many well-researched articles written by reliable scholars and journalists. In the end, truth must be told, and it must be the truth that should prevail.
While we the peace-loving people of Bhutan sit comfortably at home in the Himalayas, oblivious to what is happening around the world, the so-called Bhutanese refugees resettled in countries around the world are actively spreading false information about Bhutan. They continue telling the world media that Bhutan is a despotic kingdom which has committed "ethnic cleansing" and is continuing to discriminate ethnic Nepalese. And they write that they were in Bhutan from the time of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594 - 1651) - the founder of the modern Bhutanese State.
These claims of Nepalese being in Bhutan at the time of Zhabdrung are far from the truth. Except for a few Newari craftsmen who came to build statues in some monasteries, no big group of Nepalese came to Bhutan during the time of Zhabdrung. These Newari craftsmen often left after the projects were completed, or even if they did, they did not settle in the south where most of the recent immigrants settled. Even if we were to agree that these craftsmen did settle in the south, how would a few Newari craftsmen multiply into so many Nepalese (over 150,000) in a few decades?
According to historical records left by British Officials Charles Bell and John Claude White, the first time Nepalese were spotted in Bhutan was around 1904 and 1905. Those few groups of Nepalese who were initially brought into southern Bhutan legally as labourers were known as 'Tangyas'. The 'Tangyas' and even those who followed them were granted citizenship by an Act of the National Assembly in 1958. So these people are genuine citizens of Bhutan. But the problem arose because many illegal immigrants seeped into Bhutan through the porous international border until as late as the early 1980s.
Having just started modern economic development in 1961, Bhutan lacked the resources as well as manpower to effectively administer, control and manage immigration across the porous border in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. This was being taken full advantage of by the illegal immigrants. To take stock of this unchecked illegal iratmmigration going on in the south, the Citizenship Act of 1985 was passed. It granted Bhutanese citizenship to all Nepalese immigrants, resident in Bhutan before 31 December 1958 in keeping with the spirit of the resolution of 1958. Any immigrant who came after this date were to be considered illegal and sent back to their original place.
Following this, a census was carried out and when many illegal immigrants caught, some refugee-leaders-to-be made a big political agitation with their support base in the neighbouring Nepali dominated areas of Kalimpong and Darjeeling. And that is how the southern Bhutan problem of the 1990s started.
This coincided with the time when they had their own big plan too. According to a journalist, "Leaving Bhutan in droves was Stage I of the Plan. Coming back to Bhutan in force of numbers and on their terms was supposed to be Stage II.
Many of the refugees-to-be wholeheartedly supported this plan. The concept of a Greater Nepal featured prominently in the delusions of the Nepalese diaspora those days, encouraged no doubt by the successes of the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Many of them relished the idea of Bhutan going the Sikkim way. Kanak M. Dixit, a prominent editor from Nepal even wrote a cover page article on Bhutan revealingly titled “House of Cards” that seemed to foresee imminent collapse in Bhutan (Kanak Mani Dixit: House of cards: fearing for Bhutan. Himal Vol.7 No 4, July/August 1994.). Such sentiments had to be carefully hidden however, and not surprisingly were heatedly denounced as some Bhutan Government's bogey.
Despite the fact that their leaders had a big role to play in leading Nepalese out from Bhutan to Nepal for their 'big plan', the refugees keep claiming that they were forcefully evicted by the Bhutanese military. In this age of information, such lies can do great harm to Bhutan if we do not take measures to tell our side of the stories too. There is a risk that even our own people (especially the younger generation) would be misinformed.
Every country has its own immigration laws. Bhutan was only trying to implement its immigration laws. All countries deport illegal immigrants. Bhutan only wanted the illegal immigrants to go back to where they came from. In that respect, Bhutan did not do anything wrong. The need for Security Clearance also exists even in developed countries for the security of the country.
People are naturally attracted to peaceful places with economic opportunities. This is the reason why many people from poor and chaotic countries are trying to go to the US. In South Asia, without doubt, Bhutan is the best country to live in. So, it is only natural that it will attract illegal immigrants from the crowded surrounding areas. And it indeed did. And if we are not careful, more illegal immigrants will come in the future too.
To make the matter worse, Bhutan's population is too small to absorb any large number of immigrants. We have the real risk of becoming a minority in our own land. Remember that there are around 30 million Nepalese in Nepal and over 10 million ethnic Nepalese settled in Indian states bordering Bhutan. Compare this with just around 0.6 million of us in Bhutan. We are like just a drop in the ocean. For our culture's continuity and country's future survival, we have to understand this fact and never take things for granted. This does not mean that we have to discriminate against Bhutanese of Nepalese origin. Not at all. We have to respect them and treat them like you would treat any other Bhutanese (This is happening now as any visitor to Bhutan would testify), but we just have to be aware of our country's problems from a global perspective whether it is to find solutions to existing problems or to forge ahead with the vision of Gross National Happiness.
Please enjoy browsing through the articles and papers in the website from the menu on the right pane of this website.
Don't get me wrong.
I am a half breed. My parents come from north and south and meet in west. As a kid, it has always made me curious why those people left? who i really am?
and trust me, i have done too many studies over this matter, because, i was curious why they left?
as i have seen in forums and blogs, i just can't point out which one side is bad. But i do believe that what the refugees, did, were bad. Why should one go against the dress code? why should one murder one's own relatives? why should one rape their own people?
as i read, i come to know that not everybody was Bhutanese, didn't have that written document saying that they were in the nation in 50s? so that makes them, a bunch of people who came and stayed in our country for around say, 40 years. So after 40 years, they expect that the nation stoop at them?
i have talked this to many people, and am not bluffing, but the youths of during those days, were really harassed by both the parties, both anti nationals and armies. i can understand why armies did that, they had to maintain peace, so one can't have written on his forehead that he is not against the government. but i am still curious why those anti-nationals butchered their own kind?
and today, they get to get settled in third countries, and yet they don't want to? i mean, where is their heads still? still in their assholes? as far as i read the blogs, we are facing too much of criticisms because of them. and if they really had the sense of belonging to the nation, then why did all of them run away? in a mass? and that too, to nepal? they always thought that they were from nepal, so that affection took them to nepal. the sense of belongingness was not towards bhutan, but towards nepal.
and i read in few blogs too, that lhotsampas are being harassed in bhutan. to all those people, i say, harass my ass! i am half breed, i have a lhotsampa surname, i crack jokes regarding the culture differences, and i am not harassed here in bhutan. in fact, i am really happy here. i got scholarship from bhutan, if there was really discrimintaion, i won't have been gone for the scholarship. i even posted a topic in forum, regarding the education system. i see blogs now and then, and it just strikes me, they were all bunch of retards, they wanted to have things their way, that is why, they left. we were in southern belts too, we didn't leave:
and on that note, i talked with my grand father, he said, he had to hide in maize field for weeks, because he was scared that, people would kill him. and his crime for the anti nationals were, he didn't want to burn the national dress. a
and today, you still want to come back?
to do what? we have moved on, and moved on very far. forget about other regions of bhutan, i think they won't be welcomed by their own relatives itself. bunch of liars!
i say that, because i had few frens from nepal, and they told me regarding the conditions of refugees. even nepal people don't want them there. better pack your shits and go to western world, for i don't know what other lhotsamps would say, but i, one among the lhotsamps, i say, you are not welcome here in my home. you will be treated as intruder if you come. and i hope that, other lhotsamps share the same view.
Title: Challenge of Gorkhaland
Written by SUNANDA K DATTA-RAY, Pioneer, 12 August 2011
The possibility of new Nepalese-majority States doesn’t concern West Bengal alone. It concerns India from Assam to Uttarakhand.
Bounded by Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China, Gorkhaland will be India’s second Nepalese-majority State. If migration across the 500-mile open border — which the 1950 India-Nepal Treaty permits and even encourages — continues, it may not be the last. The prospect explains Rajiv Gandhi’s refusal in 1986 to countenance citizenship for post-1950 immigrants.
Even Darjeeling’s sitting MP tempers pleasure over the recent tripartite agreement with circumspection. “The challenge is to understand: ‘what hereafter’ and to address that,” Mr Jaswant Singh warns. Since Ms Mamata Banerjee denies that the tripartite agreement will lead to Statehood, she may not realise there is a challenge to understand and address.
It may soon become mandatory to speak only of ‘Gorkha’, so let me be ethnically accurate rather than politically correct while it is still possible and say that the challenge is of appreciating Nepalese history and ethnography and its impact on India all along the Himalayas, not just in West Bengal. Some Nepalese readers have taken umbrage at my article “Step towards Gorkhaland” published in these columns on July 29. They probably feel the economic implications of migration are demeaning. Hence they insist they didn’t come from anywhere but have always been Indian.
Always is a big word and a huge concept. How long does one have to live in a terrain to be regarded as indigenous, a reader asked. The answer can’t be measured in years or even generations. The Burdwan zamindari family have lived in Bengal for 500 years and don’t speak a word of Punjabi. But apart from exceptional love matches, all their spouses come from Punjab. In the US, Ralph Ellison, the Black American author of Invisible Man, nursed no memory, individual or folk, of his African forebears. His consciousness had been shaped in the crucible of the American Dream.
As the Rastafarian movement or the Black American girl flirting with Nigerian attire in A Raisin in the Sun demonstrated, belonging is a state of mind. I have seen German-origin Soviet families squatting for days on airport floors with their boxes and bedding like refugees at Sealdah station waiting for flights to “return” to a Germany some had never seen. I also know ethnic Germans who despite Germanic names and appearance, regard themselves and are regarded by others as entirely Russian.
With passports of convenience readily available, legal citizenship is only a small part of identity. Nor is identity constricted by boundaries which is why many Nagas seek union with their fellow tribesmen in Myanmar. Friends of Dorjee Khandu, the late Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, say he was loyally Indian to the core but completely Tibetan in lifestyle. A Malaysian bumiputera (son of the soil) is born Malay and Muslim, but Malayali settlers in dhoti and angavastram are also accorded bumiputera status. The Burdwans suggest that choice takes precedence over history and ethnicity.
Readers who deny that the British brought in Nepalese labour are right only to the extent that migration existed before Sikkim ceded Darjeeling to the East India Company. But it’s fanciful to claim (as one reader did) that the Nepalese came in the 1600s. Many of Darjeeling’s 1,900 inhabitants in 1850 (2,200 in 1869) were the original Lepchas and Bhutiyas.
Leo Rose, Lopita Nath and other scholars regard the Treaty of Sugauli and establishment of recruitment centres at Ghoom and Gorakhpur as the start. The 1950 Treaty additionally encouraged immigration. The Nepalese share of Darjeeling’s population rose from 54 per cent in 1901 to 58.4 per cent in 1971. Reportedly, it increased by 700 per cent during 1951-2001.
A vigorous community’s eastward push reduced Lepchas and Bhutiyas to minorities in their own homeland. Ethnic strife erupted throughout the North-East but especially in Meghalaya. Darjeeling suffered grievously. The most dramatic impact was in Sikkim which had only 2,500 Lepchas, 1,500 Bhutiyas and 1,000 Tsongs in 1873. A century later, the Nepalese, then three-quarters of the population, played a decisive part in changing the status of a Tibetan-Buddhist kingdom with which they could not relate. A Sikkim-Nepalese politician even demanded a Nepalese Hindu king to balance the Bhutiya Buddhist Chogyal! Bhutan began to be wary of non-Drukpa settlers after the Sikkim agitation in which many Darjeeling Nepalese participated. There were also allegations of Darjeeling Nepalese agitators in Bhutan.
Bhutan began recruiting Nepalese labourers (tangyas) in 1900, allowing them to stay on as tenant farmers with Bhutanese nationality. This changed when Bhutan’s planned growth, empty land and porous borders attracted waves of illegal migrants. The evictions, refugee camps in Nepal, militant organisations, terrorist activity and assisted migration to North America and Europe are another story.
Just as Drukpa officials felt absorption would be easier if the Nepalese were called Southern Bhutanese or Lhotshampas, Subhas Ghising dubbed them Gorkha. Prem Poddar claims in Gorkhas Imagined that “the word ‘Gorkha’ (or the neologism ‘Gorkhaness’) as a self-descriptive term ... has gained currency as a marker of difference for Nepalis living in India … While this counters the irredentism of a Greater Nepal thesis, it cannot completely exorcise the spectres or temptations of an ethnic absolutism for diasporic subjects.” Ghising’s overtures to Nepal’s King Birendra and Prince Gyanendra and periodic unpublicised trips to Nepal may have aggravated those fears. It was recalled then that the All-India Gurkha League’s founding constitution referred to Nepal as the “motherland”.
Several readers argue that Bengalis are equally foreign because they are really Bangladeshis. True, many people in Calcutta and West Bengal have roots in East Bengal (there was no Bangladesh then) just as many Tamils in Chennai come from villages in Tanjore and other districts. The metropole always attracts manpower, and internal migration in undivided Bengal followed this pattern. The movement since 1947 falls into two categories. The first is a staggered and delayed (because of political factors including the 1950 Nehru-Liaquat Ali Pact) counterpart of the exchange of population that happened all at once in Punjab. The second is the illegal influx of Muslims from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh, often abetted by elements in West Bengal. Undeniably, they should be tracked down and deported but neither group can be compared to the millions of Nepalese who have over the decades migrated to and made India their home.
The possibility of new Nepalese-majority States doesn’t concern West Bengal alone. It concerns India from Assam to Uttarakhand. The situation is without global parallel.
(Courtesy: Sudheer Sharma)
This is the story of how Sikkim lost its independence. Please read on.
On the northern corner of West Bengal state of India , there is a hill station-- Kalimpong, which once hosted celebrities from all over the world. The hill town, where most of the settlers are of Nepali origin, no longer retains its old charm. But until a few weeks ago the last prime minister of a country—that has lost its independence—used to live here. Kazi Lhendup Dorji, who died on 28 July this year at the ripe old age of 103, had played a pivotal role in the merger of Sikkim into India .
Dorji is seen as a ‘traitor’ in the contemporary history. He lived, and died, with the same ignominy. “Everybody accuses me of selling the country. Even if it is true, should I alone be blamed?” he asked me, when I met him in Kalimpong in November 1996. But the allegation of ‘betrayal’ towards one’s own motherland was so powerful that Dorji could no more lead an active political life. He spent his solitary life at the ‘Chakung House’ in Kalimpong for several decades. Few people chose to remember Kazi when he passed away nor took pain to recall his life and times.
So much so that the Kazi was ignored even by Delhi . “I went out of my way to ensure the merger of Sikkim into India but after the work was done, the Indians just ignored me,” Kazi told me during an interview for Jana Astha weekly, nearly 11 years ago. “Earlier, I used to be given a ‘Red Carpet’ welcome. Now I have to wait for weeks even to meet second grade leaders.”
When I visited Kalimpong for the second time in 2000, Lhendup’s anger towards Delhi had reached new heights. At one time, he was received warmly by Indian leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs Indira Gandhi. But later he became a political actor whose utility had been finished and thrown away into the dustbin.
The origin of crisis
After India got independence in 1947, the Sikkim State Congress, which was established as per the advice of Nehru, launched anti-King movement. Sikkim managed to overcome the crisis then but after Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India, the tiny Himalayan kingdom found itself in a crisis from which it could never escape. The anti-King movement, launched by the Sikkim National Congress (SNC) under the leadership of Lhendup Dorji in 1973, led to the demise of a sovereign nation.
India openly supported the movement against King (Chogyal) Palden Thondup Namgyal. The then ADC to the King, Captain Sonam Yongda, claimed that soldiers of Indian Army in civil dress used to take part in the protests. Some of the protesters were brought from Darjeeling and the surrounding areas. The number of Sikkimese who took part in the protest was quite small. But that was enough.
Lhendup’s protest movement depended mainly on Indian financial assistance. The money was made available through Intelligence Bureau (IB). “The people from IB used to visit me twice or thrice a year. An IB agent, Tejpal Sen, used to handover money to me personally,” Dorji had told me in a recorded interview.
In fact, the main actor behind the “ Mission Sikkim ” was India ’s external intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). Set up in 1968, RAW was able to disintegrate Pakistan (and form Bangladesh ) within three years. The annexation of Sikkim was their other ‘historic’ success. The strategists of RAW didn’t want to repeat a Bhutan in Sikkim . Bhutan managed to acquire the membership of the United Nations in 1968. So, they launched a movement under the leadership of Lhendup, which is described at great length by Ashok Raina in his book Inside
RAW: The Story of India’s Secret Service.
Raina writes that New Delhi had taken the decision to annex Sikkim in 1971, and that the RAW used the next two years to create the right conditions within Sikkim to make that happen. The key here was to use the predominantly-Hindu Sikkimese of Nepali origin who complained of discrimination from the Buddhist king and the elite to rise up. “What we felt then was that the Chogyal was unjust to us,” said CD Rai, editor of Gangtok Times and ex-minister. “We thought it may be better to be Indian than to be oppressed by the king.”
Lhendup—who belonged to the Kazi family—had a historic enmity with Sikkim ’s ruling Chogyals. He said he wanted to pressurise the King through public protests but lamented that the King never came forward for reconciliation.
Under pressure from Delhi , the Sikkimese King was forced to hold tripartite talks with SNC and India . The talks not only curtailed royal powers, it also turned Sikkim into an Indian ‘protectorate.’ In the elections held in 1974, Lhendup’s SNC got overwhelming majority in the parliament. The government and the king saw each other as enemies. Ultimately, the cabinet meeting, on 27th March 1975 , decided to abolish monarchy. The Sikkimese parliament endorsed it and decided to hold a referendum on the future of monarchy. Four days later, the outcome of the poll in 57 stations across the country was: ‘Abolition of the monarchy.’
In an interview, then Agriculture Minister of Sikkim KC Pradhan recalled that the referendum was nothing but a charade. “Indian soldiers rigged the polls by pointing rifles at the hapless voters,” he said. Immediately after the referendum, Kazi Lhendup moved a motion in the parliament proposing that Sikkim be annexed to India . The 32-member parliament, which had 31 members from Lhendup’s SNC—passed the motion without a blink. Needless to say that the entire episode was being orchestrated by India . The then Indian envoy to Sikkim (known as ‘political officer’) BS Das wrote in his book The Sikkim Saga, Sikkim ’s merger was necessary for Indian national interest. And we worked to that end. Maybe if the Chogyal had been smarter, and played his cards better, it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did.”
But Chogyal didn’t play his cards well. When Sikkim was undergoing turmoil, the Chogyal visited Kathmandu in 1974 to attend the coronation ceremony of King Birendra. According to insiders, King Birendra, Chinese deputy premier Chen Li Yan and Pakistan ’s envoy advised Chogyal not to return to Sikkim . “They narrated a ‘master plan’ to save Sikkim from Indian hands but the King didn’t accept,” said Captain Yongda. “It was because the King couldn’t think even in his dreams that India could use force to annex Sikkim .”
A ‘double game’
In fact, India was playing a ‘double game.’ On one hand, it was supporting Lhendup in whatever way possible against the King. On the other hand, it was assuring the king that monarchy would survive in Sikkim . The Chogyal was also an honorary Major General of the Indian Army. He never thought that his ‘own army’ would act against him. It was only an illusion.
The Chogyal of Sikkim was in his palace on the morning of 6 April 1975 when the roar of army trucks climbing the steep streets of Gangtok brought him running to the window. There were Indian soldiers everywhere, they had surrounded the palace, and short rapid bursts of machine gun fire could be heard. Basanta Kumar Chhetri, a 19-year-old guard at the palace’s main gate, was struck by a bullet and killed—the first casualty of the takeover. The 5,000-strong Indian force didn’t take more than 30 minutes to subdue the palace guards who numbered only 243. By 12:45 pm it was all over, Sikkim ceased to exist as an independent kingdom.
The Chogyal also lost the second opportunity. The Sikkim Guards had the capacity to stop the Indian Army for two hours. If the Chogyal had informed Beijing and Islamabad about the Indian invasion from the transmitter set up at his palace, both the countries had assured him—during the Kathmandu meeting—that they would instruct their security forces to open fire along the borders with India . Chinese army could even travel to Gangtok to rescue the Chogyal.
Captured palace guards, hands raised high, were packed into trucks and taken away, singing: “Dela sil, li gi, gang changka chibso” (May my country keep blooming like a flower). But by then, the Indian tri-colour had replaced the Sikkimese flag at the palace where the 12th king of the Namgyal dynasty was held prisoner. “The Chogyal was a great believer in India . He had huge respect for Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Not in his wildest dreams did he think India would ever gobble up his kingdom,” recalls Captain Sonam Yongda, the Chogyal’s aide-de-camp. Nehru himself had told journalist Kuldip Nayar in 1960: “Taking a small country like Sikkim by force would be like shooting a fly with a rifle.” Ironically it was Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi who cited “national interest” to make Sikkim the 22nd state of the Indian union.
During a meeting, former Chief Minister of Sikkim BB Gurung told me that the King and Lhendup were just fighting a proxy war. “The real battle was between an American and a Belgian lady.” If that was true, the real victor was the third lady—Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Two Foreign Ladies
Chogyal Palden met the 24-year-old New Yorker, Hope Cook, in Darjeeling in 1963 and married her. For Cook, this was a dream come true: to become the queen of an independent kingdom in Shangri-la. She started taking the message of Sikkimese independence to the youth, and the allegations started flying thick and fast that she was a CIA agent. These were the coldest years of the Cold War, and there was a tendency in India to see a “foreign hand” behind everything so it was not unusual for the American queen to be labelled a CIA agent. However, as Hope Cook’s relations with Delhi deteriorated, so did her marriage with the Chogyal. In 1973, she took her two children and went back to New York . She hasn’t returned to Sikkim since.
Then there was Elisa-Maria, daughter of a Belgian father and German mother who left her Scottish husband in Burma and married Kazi Lhendup Dorji in Delhi in 1957. The two couldn’t have been more different. Elisa-Maria wanted to be Sikkim ’s First Lady, but Hope Cook stood in the way. “She didn’t just want to be the wife of an Indian chief minister; she wanted to be the wife of the prime minister of an independent Sikkim .” With that kind of an ambition, it was not surprising that with annexation, neither Hope Cook nor Elisa-Maria got what they wanted.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi Indira Gandhi was going from strength to strength, and India was flexing its muscles. The 1971 Bangladesh war and the atomic test in 1974 gave Delhi the confidence to take care of Sikkim once and for all. Indira Gandhi was concerned that Sikkim may show independent tendencies and become a UN member like Bhutan did in 1971, and she also didn’t take kindly to the three Himalayan kingdoms, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal, getting too cosy with each other.
When the Indian troops moved in there was general jubilation on the streets of Gangtok. It was in fact in faraway Kathmandu that there were reverberations. Beijing expressed grave concern. But in the absence of popular protests against the Indian move, there was only muted reaction at the United Nations in New York . It was only later that there were contrary opinions within India —(Former Indian Prime Minister) Morarji Desai said in 1978 that the merger was a mistake. Even Sikkimese political leaders who fought for the merger said it was a blunder and worked to roll it back. But by then, it was already too late.
Lhendup Dorji became the first chief minister of the Indian state of Sikkim and retained the post until 1979. The Indian government conferred on him ‘Padma Bhusan’ in 2002 and he was also awarded the ‘Sikkim Ratna’ by the state government in 2004.
Despite such “rewards,” Lhendup and his wife Elisa spent their last years in Kalimpong repenting their past deeds. After the death of his wife in 1990, Lhendup was forced to lead a solitary life. He neither had any children nor relatives to take care of him. He cut himself off from his own people to avoid their wrath and hatred.
In the elections held in 1979, Lhendup’s SNC failed to bag even a single seat in the Sikkim ’s legislature. This effectively brought to an end to his political career. At one time, when he had gone to file his nomination, his name was missing from the electoral roll. In his resolve to dethrone the Chogyal dynasty that had 400-year-old history in Sikkim , Lhendup ended up delivering his motherland into the lap of India . In return, all he got was a life haunted from the shadow of the past and an ignominious death.
(This writing was originally posted at www.nepalnews.com)
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa: 1st democratic CM of Sikkim
Posted on May 11, 2011 by iSikkim
By Rajen Upadhyaya
The political upheavals of 1940s precipitated into protest movement of 1973 that finally led to the merger of Sikkim into India in 1975. 1919 up to 1947 is referred as Gandhian era in the Modern Indian History. Similarly, the period between 1945 up to 1975 can be regarded as Kazian era in the Democratic History of Sikkim. It was during this period that the late L.D. Kazi single handedly guided the democratic movement of Sikkim till its merger.
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa was born at Pakyong, East Sikkim in the ancient and noble Khangsarpa family in 1904. As a pious Buddhist he entered the Rumtek monastery at the age of 6 years. His uncle Tshurfuk Lama Rabden Dorjee was the then Head Lama of the famous Rumtek Monastry and young Lhendup became his disciple.
Sidkeyong Namgyal, the then Maharaja of Sikkim, while once on a visit to the Rumtek liked the young monk Lhendup and took him to Gangtok. The Maharaja put him in a Tibetan School. At the age of 16 Kazi Lhendup returned to Rumtek monastery and underwent strict training of Lamaism for another two years. Thereafter he succeeded as the Head Lama of Rumtek Monastery and its estates on the retirement of Lama Ugen Tenzing. Kazi Lhendup remained as Head Lama at Rumtek monastery for 8 years, and then left the monastery to work with his brother Kazi Phag Tshering, who founded the Young Mens’ Buddhist Association at Darjeeling. The two Kazi brothers founded a large number of schools in West Sikkim and were instrumental in bringing about a number of social and other reforms.
The 40’s of the 20th century witnessed a heralding change world wide. A person with the feeling of service to mankind, Kazi Lhendup founded a Political Organization known as Rajya Praja Mandal at his native place at Chakhung in West Sikkim. In 1947 the amalgamation of the three petty political organizations of Sikkim Rajya Praja Mandal, Rajya Praja Sammelan and Praja Sudhar Samaj took place. On 7th December 1947 they held a joint meeting at today’s Palzor Stadium (then Polo Ground) and decided to form a compact body to combat lawless feudalism. The huge gathering of 7th December 1947 led to the birth of first ever political Party of Sikkim known as Sikkim State Congress. Tashi Tshering also popularly known as Tashi Babu of Gangtok was the elected President of Sikkim State Congress.
In 1953, Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa (people of his native place fondly called him Kancha Kazi) became the President of Sikkim State Congress and held that post till 1958. During his President ship he led a delegation to Delhi in 1954 to call on the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Sikkimese had been fighting for political and economic reforms and these were discussed by the delegation with Pandit Nehru, who was deeply impressed by the sincerity of Kazi Lhendup Dorjee. The Indian Prime Minister promised to give assistance for the progress and economic welfare of the Sikkimese populace and assured Government of India’s support towards political reform in Sikkim.
After the foundation of the Sikkim State Congress (which was a pro-peasant party) the pro feudalists founded another political party in 1948 to curb the rising tide of democratic ideas. The new political party was known as Sikkim National Party and it was basically patronized by the palace. The Sikkim State Congress had branded this party as the “party of palace”.
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee realized the futility of the communal approach in the political scenario of Sikkim. Welfare of the people being close to his heart, he decided to form another party, called the Sikkim National Congress in 1960. His main approach was to form a non-communal party which could give the Sikkimese peace, prosperity and progress. Contesting on this platform his party secured 8 seats out of 18 in the third General Elections of Sikkim in 1963. Kazi Lhendup Dorjee formed the opposition in the Sikkim Council and tried to bring about a feeling of communal harmony.
In the General Election of 1970, Kazi Lhendup Dorjee was appointed as an Executive Councillor and was allotted the portfolio of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Transport Authority. As Sikkim was an agricultural country, Kazi tried to bring reforms to reform the economic conditions of the farmers. He was however, removed from the Executive Councillor in 1972.
In personal life, Late Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa had his second wife from Belgium. Her name was Kazini Eliza Maria (also known as Kazini Sahiba of Chakhung) who played a vital role in guiding and assisting Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa in his day to day affairs. She was an influential woman who used to do most of the paper works of the party of Kazi from their cozy bungalow at Kalimpong.
The General Election of 1973, the last general election of independent Sikkim, based on the notorious parity formulae, did not satisfy the Sikkim National Congress. This led to an agitation in April 1973 which ultimately led to the merger of two influential political parties of Sikkim the Janata Congress and Sikkim National Congress giving birth to Sikkim Congress.
In the elections of 1974, Sikkim Congress secured 31 out of 32 seats in the Sikkim Assembly and formed its government based on principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Kazi became the first elected Chief Minister. The Sikkim Congress delegates used to attend the annual session of the Indian National Congress. After the merger of Sikkim in India in 1975, the political party of Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa was also merged with the Indian National Congress at Kamagatamaru Nagar in Chandigarh.
Personally Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa and Kazini Eliza Maria lost everything — perhaps not really everything — because the people of Sikkim still remember him with fondness. The father of democracy in Sikkim was not even allowed to enter Sikkim when he lost election in 1979. The memorable Kazi expired on July 29, 2007.
Kazi did not live for personal gains. He lived for the people of Sikkim. “By merging Sikkim with India, Kazi Lendhup Dorji Khansarpa of Chakung brought new prosperity to the people of Sikkim, restored their rights and gave India a jewel in the crown studded with the silvery Kanchenjunga”. (M. K Dhar, If not for Him Sikkim would not be a part of India)
Many of the refugees-to-be wholeheartedly supported this plan. The concept of a Greater Nepal featured prominently in the delusions of the Nepalese diaspora those days, encouraged no doubt by the successes of the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Many of them relished the idea of Bhutan going the Sikkim way. Kanak M. Dixit, a prominent editor from Nepal even wrote a cover page article on Bhutan revealingly titled “House of Cards” that seemed to foresee imminent collapse in Bhutan (Kanak Mani Dixit: House of cards: fearing for Bhutan. Himal Vol.7 No 4, July/August 1994.). Such sentiments had to be carefully hidden however and not surprisingly were heatedly denounced as some RGOB bogey."
Please read below to find out more.
Title: Abraham Abraham and the Refugee Refugees
Published Date: 2007/8/31 3:27:16
By : bhutantimes.com Editorial
The tragedy of the so-called Bhutanese refugee crisis seems to be repeating itself. Those who have failed to understand the true nature of the tragedy now have another chance. Hopefully they won’t miss the irony either. Against a tide of international criticism in the 1990s the government of Bhutan maintained that the mass exodus of Nepalese from southern Bhutan was not a result of government or military pressure on citizens, but was a result of the refugees’ own secret little plan. Leaving Bhutan in droves was Stage I of the Plan. Coming back to Bhutan in force of numbers and on their terms was supposed to be Stage II.
Many of the refugees-to-be wholeheartedly supported this plan. The concept of a Greater Nepal featured prominently in the delusions of the Nepalese diaspora those days, encouraged no doubt by the successes of the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Many of them relished the idea of Bhutan going the Sikkim way. Kanak M. Dixit, a prominent editor from Nepal even wrote a cover page article on Bhutan revealingly titled “House of Cards” that seemed to foresee imminent collapse in Bhutan (Kanak Mani Dixit: House of cards: fearing for Bhutan. Himal Vol.7 No 4, July/August 1994.). Such sentiments had to be carefully hidden however and not surprisingly were heatedly denounced as some RGOB bogey.
Not all refugees were so excited by this delusion and many had to be coerced through threats and intimidation to cooperate. There was a militant wing among the refugees that offered to shorten by 6 inches anybody who did not cooperate. Translated bluntly, this was an offer of a beheading. Since the refugees were shrewdly trying to craft a picture of a persecuted minority, this fact too had to be denied. The refugee leaders cleverly deflected the blame for the exodus on a ‘despotic kingdom’ dabbling in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of a ‘peaceful minority’. Now which self-respecting headline reader could resist buzzwords as catchy as these?
Having successfully created the critical mass of refugees and successfully set up their camps in Nepal (which incidentally was made possible only after a Long March and a standoff with the Nepalese police over the Mechi bridge), the plan began to stumble. The refugee leaders had never reckoned with Bhutanese bureaucratic obduracy and for 16 years Stage II has been in limbo. They’ve had to struggle to keep people focused on why they left Bhutan and what the next step was. Sadly for them, international sympathy for their humanitarian situation did not translate into international belief that the refugees were all Bhutanese citizens.
Finding lessons for Bhutan from the happenings in India and Nepal has been a habit among the Nepalese leaders in Bhutan. Their agitations in Bhutan in 1952 and 1990 following the successes of the uprisings against the British in India and against the monarchy in Nepal respectively bear this out. So it was no surprise that in the successes of the Maoists of Nepal the refugee leaders found inspiration and they promptly created their very own Maoist group. Unfortunately in their excitement they forgot about the US’ penchant for overreacting to anything communist or even the colour red. Not surprisingly the US became unduly alarmed by this and decided enough was enough and offered to clear the camps with a sweeping offer of resettlement in the USA.* Most of the refugees jumped at the offer as they saw it for what it was – an opportunity of a life time.
In this happy solution however the refugee leaders have found despair. Who will they lead is the main question. What will become of them as leaders? These hard questions have triggered the return of their hidden true nature and despite the risk of losing their hard earned image of peaceful refugees, they have once again resumed their old role of ‘guiding’ the people. According to them, the US offer is simply no good. No doubt being six inches shorter has something to do with it. Reports from Nepal describe a rapidly worsening situation as the Bhutan Communist Party and the Bhutan Tigers’ Front intensified their ‘campaign’ against third-country resettlement.
Such is the level of fear and intimidation that has gripped the refugee camps that dozens of families have fled the camps for their safety. Many refugees now find safety in the surrounding villages.
If there is one thing that is worse than becoming a refugee, it is for a refugee to have to seek refuge FROM a refugee camp. Abraham Abraham, the Country Representative of the UNHCR camps in Nepal must answer up to this incredible failure.
And it is high time that he and the UNHCR organization acknowledge the sinister role played by the refugee leaders in the creation of the refugee tragedy.
*This is but one possible explanation for the generous US offer.
The link to the original article can be found here: https://www.bhutantimes.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=113
For instance, in May 1994, 269 persons from Dorokha Dungkhag came to Samtse and insisted on emigrating to Nepal despite every effort by all of us in the Dzongkhag Headquarters to persuade them to withdraw their applications, he said. Even after reading to them a Kasho sent by His Majesty the King appealing to them not to leave and exempting all rural taxes for three years to all those who withdrew their applications, only 32 persons accepted His Majesty’s Kasho and stayed back. All the others left for Nepal. Journalists and NGO members who have met these people and interviewed other emigrants and their neighbours know whether they were forced to leave or left of their own free will."
Please read below to find out more:
Title: Outside agencies providing assistance to the ngolops should be given clearinformation and true facts about the ngolops
Excerpted from: TRANSLATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BHUTAN HELD
FROM10TH AUGUST TO 2ND SEPTEMBER, 1995.
The people’s representatives of Lhuntsi Dzongkhag and the representative of Khibisa,Lajab and Tshangkha gewogs in Dagana Dzongkhag pointed out that in the past fewyears people from the southern Dzongkhags had emigrated and left the country despiterepeated appeals made by the government not to leave. These people even ignored thepersonal appeals made to them by His Majesty the King through his Kashos and whenhe visited the southern Dzongkhags to meet the emigrants and asked them not to leavethe country. They even threatened local authorities and other villagers who tried todiscourage them from emigrating and left for Nepal after taking Kidu Soilra.
Lhotshampa civil servants who have stolen government funds also absconded to Nepalwhile other Lhotshampas had left after terrorising and robbing the villagers. After going to Nepal, these people have registered themselves as refugees by claiming to have beenforcefully evicted and making other false allegations against the Royal Government.
The people’s representatives said that they are shocked that these people have beengiven refugee status by international organizations and that their cause is beingsupported by the Nepalese government. If they had been forcefully evicted they wouldhave stayed across the border in India. Why go all the way to Nepal? Many of thesepeople who are registered in the refugee camps in Nepal have been sneaking back intothe country to carry out terrorist acts such as murder, rape, armed robbery anddestruction of development facilities. Such terrorist acts by the ngolops have been goingon for several years now. The people’s representatives asked the government to clearlyinform all the foreign agencies providing assistance to the ngolops about the seriouscrimes being constantly committed by these people. They said that the Nepalesegovernment and international organisations like the UNHCR should reconsider theirposition on this issue on the basis of the true facts.
The Home Minister acknowledged that there was much substance to the points raised bythe people’s representatives of Lhuntsi and Dagana Dzongkhags. Despite all the effortsmade by the government to dissuade them, most of the Lhotshampas who had applied toemigrate had left the country for Nepal. Many of these people have since been comingback to carry out terrorist raids inside Bhutan, he said. Giving a summary of the terroristactivities perpetrated uptil August, 1995, the Home Minister informed the NationalAssembly that the ngolops had committed 68 confirmed murders and 960 cases ofdacoity and armed robbery. They had burnt down or destroyed 66 private houses,hijacked 62 vehicles and destroyed another 36. They had also physically attacked andinjured 664 Bhutanese nationals and carried out 65 ambushes and attacks on the securityforces and government officials. The Home Minister also informed the members that112 terrorists had been apprehended and handed over to the police by the villagevolunteers in the southern Dzongkhags.
The Home Minister said that the terrorists and ngolops are persons who have stolengovernment funds, have incurred large loans and debts or were involved in criminalactivities while they were in Bhutan. The reason why all those who leave Bhutan gostraight to Nepal is because the ngolop leaders have been telling them to come to therefugee camps where they will receive free food and housing, free education for theirchildren, free health facilities and even free kerosene oil and soap, he said. They are alsoprovided free transport from Bhutan to the camps in eastern Nepal. All it takes for them to be accepted in the camps in Jhapa, is to be of Nepalese origin and to declare they areBhutanese refugees. As a result of this, many unemployed and destitute ethnicNepalese from Nepal and the nearby areas have congregated in the camps in easternNepal claiming to be Bhutanese refugees. Among this group of people claiming to beBhutanese refugees are many labourers brought from Nepal and the neighbouring areasby the Nepalese Baidars to work in Bhutan on development projects and who have sincereturned. The Home Minister agreed that it is indeed very important to apprise alloutside agencies helping the ngolops about these facts.
The Home Minister informed the members that several non-governmental organisations,some UN agencies and a few countries are involved in giving assistance to the people inthe refugee camps in eastern Nepal. Some of them are extending assistance out ofgenuine humanitarian concern while some are doing so to proselytise their own faith,and some others for political reasons. All of them are now aware that there are people inthe refugee camps in Nepal who are not really Bhutanese, he said. The Nepalesegovernment is also aware of this fact. However, the Nepalese government and theconcerned organisations continue to extend their support because they find it difficult towithdraw after being involved in establishing and running the camps over the last fouryears. The Home Minister assured the people’s representatives that the Royal Government has been making every effort to keep the agencies and organisations involved in the refugee camps properly informed about the true facts regarding thengolops and their activities.
The people’s representatives of Lhuntsi and Dagana Dzongkhags said that while theycould understand the position of the concerned organisations if the people in the campshad been forced to leave Bhutan, they are utterly shocked that people who refused toremain in the country when His Majesty the King himself had repeatedly appealed tothem not to leave have been given refugee status and are receiving assistance from theseorganisations and the Nepalese government. They once again emphasised the need toproperly apprise these agencies and the Nepalese government about the true factsregarding the ngolops.
The Samtse Dzongda informed the people’s representatives that since he took office inSamtse in 1992, about 400 Lhotshampas from his Dzongkhag had emigrated and left forNepal despite all efforts to dissuade them from leaving. After registering themselves inthe refugee camps in eastern Nepal, some of these people have been coming back tocarry out terrorist activities in the Dzongkhag. He also informed the Assembly that over 20 Indian journalists and 14 Western journalists have visited Samtse Dzongkhag to seethe true situation for themselves. Members of international organisations and nongovernmentalorganisations, and officials from foreign embassies have also visited Samtse. They have all seen and studied the situation and know the true facts, including whether people have been forcefully evicted or not.
For instance, in May 1994, 269 persons from Dorokha Dungkhag came to Samtse and insisted on emigrating to Nepal despite every effort by all of us in the Dzongkhag Headquarters to persuade them to withdraw their applications, he said. Even after reading to them a Kasho sent by His Majesty the King appealing to them not to leave and exempting all rural taxes for three years to all those who withdrew their applications, only 32 persons accepted His Majesty’s Kasho and stayed back. All the others left for Nepal. Journalists and NGO members who have met these people and interviewed other emigrants and their neighbours know whether they were forced to leave or left of their own free will.
He agreed with the people’s representatives that it is indeed shocking to see the Nepalesegovernment and the concerned outside agencies according refugee status and givingassistance to people who have emigrated from the country despite every effort topersuade them to stay back, especially when many of these very people have beencoming back to carry out terrorist activities inside Bhutan.
The representative of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry reminded theNational Assembly that in October, 1991, Prime Minister G.P. Koirala of Nepal had clearly stated in a BBC interview that in 1952 he had helped to organise the first attemptby the Lhotshampas to rise against the Royal Government of Bhutan which had giventhem shelter and Kidu when they came to the country without any possessions to theirnames. It is very significant also, he said, that the relatives of some of the ngolop leaders today were involved in this attempt organised by the former Prime Minister of Nepal.
Persons carrying out ngolop activities as well as those who have been taking Kidu Soilra and emigrating have all been going straight to Nepal because they are beinggiven full support and encouraged to come there. It is important that these facts areexplained clearly to all those who are extending assistance to the ngolops, he said. Speaking on the issue, the Foreign Minister assured the people’s representatives that thecountries and international organisations and agencies giving assistance to the people inthe refugee camps in Nepal have been kept informed about the true facts regarding thengolops.
He said that one of the main reasons why some of the organisations areextending assistance to the people in the camps is to proselytise and convert as many ofthem as possible in return for free handouts of food and clothing, free education andhealth facilities, and other incentives. He informed the members that more than 3,000people in the camps have already been converted to Christianity. Some of theorganisations and countries involved in giving assistance to the people in the camps aredoing so for political reasons and others because all the people in the camps are ethnicNepalese, he said.
The Samdrupjongkhar Dzongda recalled that in February 1992, His Majesty the Kingtoured all the villages in Bhangtar, Daifam and Samrang by foot to meet with theLhotshampas who had applied to emigrate and appealed to them to stay back. Whilethese people assured His Majesty that they would not leave, the moment His Majestyreturned to Thimphu they all insisted on emigrating and pressed for their applications tobe processed without delay. Members of the media and foreign organisations who havevisited southern Bhutan are fully aware of the true facts since they have carried out theirown study of the situation and have also observed the emigration procedures and seenall relevant records and documents. Since some international organisations andcountries are giving assistance to these people who have left Bhutan on the basis of theirfalse allegations against the Royal Government, it is necessary to make them understandthat there are really no grounds at all for treating these people as refugees, he said.
The National Assembly resolved that the Royal Government must make every effort toclearly brief the international agencies and countries extending assistance to the peoplein the refugee camps in Nepal about the ngolops and their true motives and activities.The National Assembly also resolved that when the Nepal-Bhutan talks are held, theNepalese government must also be clearly briefed about the above views and concernsexpressed by the people’s representatives.
The complete text (155 pages) of TRANSLATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BHUTAN HELDFROM10TH AUGUST TO 2ND SEPTEMBER, 1995 can be found on this link: http://www.nab.gov.bt/downloads/1673rd%20Session.pdf
To answer this question, let me quote from an article by Alexander Casella:
“That events took another turn was due to an odd set of circumstances, namely the failure of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency, to properly address the Kurdish crisis in northern
In the wake of the first Gulf War in 1991, the
The exodus caught the then-high commissioner for refugees, Madame Sadako Ogata, completely unprepared and exposed her to a wave of criticism both from Western governments and the non-governmental organization community.
To mitigate censure for her failure, Ogata created, within the UNHCR bureaucracy, a so-called Emergency Response Unit allegedly responsible for ensuring that the refugee agency be capable of responding at short notice to a sudden refugee crisis anywhere in the world.
However, with no further crises in sight but an unemployed emergency unit at hand, the UNHCR bureaucracy became a solution in search of a problem. That problem suddenly emerged in 1992, when the government of
Normally, the UNHCR, before intervening, would have undertaken a survey of the caseload to determine exactly their nationality and reasons for departure. Had this been undertaken, the inescapable conclusion would have been that the overwhelming majority were actually Nepalese and hence, by the fact that they were in their own country, did not qualifying for refugee status.
But Ogata did not run a tight shop and spurred by the urge to be perceived as active, the UNHCR opened seven camps without undertaking even a semblance of a survey of the arrivals. Over subsequent years, as the UNHCR kept on pouring money into the camps,
For full article, click here.
For full article, click here.
The two sides tell quite different stories. Nepalese are all out to rewrite the history of Bhutan to show that their ancestors settled in Bhutan much earlier than they actually did. But historical facts, recorded much earlier than the current regime in Bhutan came into being, do not lie.
According to the paper “Bhutan: A kingdom besieged”, “The first sightings of Nepalese in the southern foothills are reported by Charles Bell in 1904 followed closely by John Claude White in 1905. All Bhutanese records confirm that no Nepalese settled in any part of Bhutan until then.
…The claim that the Nepalese had a role in safeguarding the sovereignty of the country, is clearly baseless since they did not enter southern Bhutan or any part of the duars area of West Bengal or Assam until long after the Sinchula Treaty with the British was signed. This is corroborated by Eden's report which states that his Nepalese porters, "were unwilling to enter Bhutan, the inhabitants of which were not looked upon with favour ... there the coolies left in considerable numbers being afraid to cross the frontier" (Teesta Bridge). Arthur Foning, a Kalimpong Lepcha, writes that this bore testimony to how effectively the Bhutanese territorial interests were guarded.”
However, most of the Nepalese came much later after the first five year plan of Bhutan was initiated in 1961. “Once the 5-year development programmes began to yield results, government effort to control immigration was thwarted by the earlier settlers who colluded with their ethnic kith and kin to prevent detection, falsify records and facilitate infiltration. Free education, free health services, employment opportunities, highly subsidized agriculture inputs, generous rural credit schemes, the security of a politically stable country were the main inducements that led to the influx of Nepalese immigrants in the 1960's and 1970's. In addition to the new arrivals, those who had come in legally as labourers for the many development schemes also began to infiltrate into the villages.”
2. Is Bhutan really a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country as the Nepalese claim?
Nepal Govt. and Bhutanese refugees assert that Bhutan is a “multi-cultural and multi-ethnic” country. And they try to play the old colonists’ trick of “divide-and-rule” by trying to play Sharchops against the Ngalungs.
But so far it has failed. Why?
Because Bhutan really isn’t multicultural or multi-ethnic per se, though we do have different linguistic groups. Bhutanese people in different regions speak different languages (or sometimes closely related dialects), but they look physically quite the same, and their beliefs, customs, festivals, and religious faiths are almost same and uniform throughout. So, excluding the Nepalese, Bhutanese form a cohesive homogenous society.
Now, since we have Lhotshampas who are genuine Bhutanese, Bhutan may be said to be bi-cultural or bi-ethnic country, but not really multi-cultural or multi-ethnic as the Nepali Govt. and the Bhutanese refugees like to believe.
The following is an official statement found on the website of the Foreign Ministry of Nepal:
“Bhutan is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. Sarchops, Ngalumgs and Lhostsampas are the three main ethnic groups. Bhutan has a significant number of people of Nepalese origin, particularly in the southern part of the country. The Nepalese of southern Bhutan are called Lhotshampas.”
Yet, we are not against multiculturalism per se. What we are against is how it is interpreted as Ruth Lea, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in the UK says:
“ There are two ways in which people interpret multiculturalism.
The first one is the more common way and that is every culture has the right to exist and there is no over-arching thread that holds them together.
That is the multiculturalism we think is so destructive because there's no thread to hold society together. It is that multiculturalism that Trevor Phillips has condemned and, of course, we are totally supportive.
There is another way to define multiculturalism which I would call diversity where people have their own cultural beliefs and they happily coexist - but there is a common thread of Britishness or whatever you want to call it to hold society together." (Source: http://www.bbc.com/)
3. How many people in the refugee camps are actually genuine Bhutanese?
UNHCR confirms around 100,000 refugees in the camps. While the refugee leaders and Nepali Govt. assert that all of them are Bhutanese, Bhutanese in Bhutan believe that many of them are not really refugees from Bhutan.
The Joint Verification Team (JVT) of Bhutan and Nepal presented the following results to the fourteenth meeting of the Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) in Kathmandu in May 2003 on the verification of the residents of Khudunabari camp:
Category -----------No. of people ------Percentage
(1) Bonafide Bhutanese ----293------ -------2.5 %
(2) Emigrants -------------8,595------------70.5%
(3) Non-Bhutanese --------2,948------------24.2%
Total ---------------------12,183 ------------100
(Note: Emigrants, the largest group, are those Bhutanese nationals who had signed forms for voluntary emigration despite Bhutan Govt. and the King's advice to stay back. Most of them did so either due to fear of terrorizing members from groups like Bhutan People's Party, or for the hope of promised triumphant return to take over of Bhutan - that was an unhidden political agenda of the refugee leaders and it is still is their hope.)
The refugee issue is a festering problem for Bhutan. It is one we cannot avoid indefinitely. Now that we have elected govt. in place, it will be even harder to find leaders who are willing to tackle the problem squarely because of the risks of losing the votes of Southern Bhutanese.
However, this is a problem in which all of us have a stake in. It is important for us to understand the different perspectives the two sides have. Until these fundamental differences in the perspectives are not settled, the refugee issue may be difficult to solve.
Despite the ngolop problem in southern Bhutan, and the considerable risk and embarrassment to the Royal Government over the past five years on account of Lhotshampa civil servants absconding, the RCSC has, on the command of His Majesty the King, not resorted to any discriminatory measures against the Lhotshampas. Out of 11,793 Bhutanese in the civil service today, 3,179 are from southern Bhutan, he said.
Since 1990, 1,061 Lhotshampas have been inducted into the civil service and 784 Lhotshampa civil servants have been promoted by the Ministries and the RCSC. 441 Lhotshampas have been sent abroad for training out of which 59 are students sent to study in professional fields. On the other hand, the Deputy Minister said, 465 Lhotshampa civil servants have absconded during the same period, many of them with large amounts of government funds and assets, and hundreds have resigned to join the ngolops."
Excerpted from: TRANSLATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BHUTAN HELD FROM10TH AUGUST TO 2ND SEPTEMBER, 1995.
The complete (155 pages) of the TRANSLATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND RESOLUTIONS can be found on this link: http://www.nab.gov.bt/downloads/1673rd%20Session.pdf
According to his official biography at his university's website, "Michael Hutt is Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He completed a BA in South Asian Studies (Hindi) in 1980 and a Ph.D. on the history of the Nepali language and its literature in 1984, both at SOAS."
Here are 5 big reasons why anyone should not take Michael Hutt's articles at face value:
1. He has not done any research inside Bhutan. So his knowledge of Bhutan is superficial. Probably he has not even been to Bhutan.
2. He has long connection with Nepal and Nepalese. In fact, his whole adult life has been about Nepal - studying about Nepal at university and now working about Nepal. His professional life revolves around studying Nepali language and Nepali culture. He has done his Ph.D. on Nepali language, and now as a professor, he has mainly Nepalese Ph.D. students in his lab. So, he is deeply sympathetic of the Nepalese people everywhere. His views on the Bhutanese refugee issue are naturally biased.
3. He twists facts and figures to suit his twisted views on Bhutan. This is totally unbecoming of a scholar. No doubt that he is not highly regarded among his peers.
4. He quotes literature very selectively, only making references to those studies which conveniently suit his point of view. It is not becoming of a scholarly study to do so. All studies on the subject should be referenced for reaching a balanced conclusion.
5. Other researchers have pointed out that his articles contain factual errors.
Bhutanese writers and researchers out there, I urge you to expose some of Mr. Hutt's lies and set the record straight. We, Bhutanese are a reserved lot by nature. But, in this age of information, remaining silent could be suicidal.
Some articles he has published about Bhutan:
Here is one of the latest in a series of articles bitter on Bhutan he has published:
And here are some more:
3. It seems he has even written a book about Bhutanese refugee issue without conducting any field research inside Bhutan:
4. This website is also probably supported by him. Most materials there quote his works:
The following is excerpted from his official biography at http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31153.php:
Michael Hutt is Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at SOAS. He completed a BA in South Asian Studies (Hindi) in 1980 and a Ph.D. on the history of the Nepali language and its literature in 1984, both at SOAS. In 1987 he returned to SOAS as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and has been engaged in teaching and research relating to Nepal here ever since. He was Head of the South Asia Department from 1995-9, and has served as both Associate Dean (2002-4) and Dean (2004-10) of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.
The study of modern and contemporary Nepali literature is Hutt's home ground, and he is well known as a translator. However, he has also published on Nepali politics, Nepali art and architecture, censorship in the Nepali print media, and the Bhutanese refugee issue. His latest completed work is a book length biographical study of the Nepali poet Bhupi Sherchan, which will appear in 2010 or 2011. New articles on the abolition of the Shah monarchy and on the selection of Nepal's new national anthem are forthcoming. In 2010 he will begin a major new research project on the construction of public meaning in Nepal.
His publications include Himalayan Voices: an Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature (1991), Nepal in the Nineties: Versions of the Past, Visions of the Future (1994), Modern Literary Nepali: an Introductory Reader (1997), Unbecoming Citizens: Culture, Nationhood, and the Flight of Refugees from Bhutan (2003) and Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion (2004).
Read the following news report of the optimism raised by the last MJC Meeting.
Title: 15th MJC meeting agree on a number of issues
Posted on: October 23, 2003.
Published by: Kuensel.
The 15th ministerial joint committee (MJC) meeting between Nepal and Bhutan on the refugee issue concluded yesterday in Thimphu.
Described as a ‘historic’ and major breakthrough, the meeting ended on a happy note with both the sides agreeing on a number of issues.
It was agreed that the appeals submitted by the people in Category 3 would be reviewed by the joint verification team (JVT) by the end of January 2004. People falling under Category 3 are non-Bhutanese who are claiming to be Bhutanese
It was also agreed that people falling under category 4 (people who have committed crimes against the people and country of Bhutan) would be allowed to return and given a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. Their family members will not be prosecuted on their return to Bhutan.
It was also agreed that people in category one (people who claim they were forcefully evicted from the country), two (people who emigrated on their own free will), and four who have applied to return to Bhutan will be repatriated as ‘per the harmonized position on these categories.’ Those people in Category 2 who do not want to return to Bhutan will be allowed to apply for the Nepali citizenship.
The terms and procedures for repatriation, reapplication and application for Bhutan and Nepal will be as prescribed by laws of the two countries.
The 15th MJC has agreed to implement the outcome of the meeting with the JVT deciding to meet in Damak, Jhapa, in the last week of November this year.
The MJC has also selected Sanischare as the next camp for verification and directed the JVT to explore ways and means of expediting the verification process in the remaining camps.
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that the meeting came to a fruitful conclusion and that it was a major step forward for both the countries.
The Nepalese foreign minister said that the MJC meeting was the ‘end of talk and the beginning of action.’
By Kinley Y Dorji
Original article can be reached here: http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3399
Title: Bhutanese JVT officials attacked in Jhapa
December 23, 2003 - The members of the Joint Verification Team from Bhutan arrived in Phuentsholing in partially damaged vehicles today after a mob attack in Damak, eastern Nepal, during which several members were injured. The Bhutanese foreign ministry described the incident as an "unprovoked act of violence against the officials who were only carrying out the directives of the MJC". "It is even more disturbing because the entire episode was not spontaneous but pre-meditated," according to a statement from the ministry. "The events that took place were well planned and well orchestrated, enabled by other residents of the camp who should never have been there."
The JVT was following instructions of the 15th ministerial joint committee held in Thimphu in October and had begun its work in December, 2003. "The MJC had agreed that the Bhutanese verification team and Nepalese verification team would brief the people on the terms, procedures and facilities applicable in Bhutan and Nepal respectively," according to the press release.
The press release also stated that the Bhutanese team had begun briefing the camp residents of Sector A in Khudunabari camp in a semi permanent bamboo hall. "The MJC considered it important to brief the camp residents for transparency and to enable them to make informed choices in exercising their voluntary option to return to Bhutan or stay in Nepal," according to the statement. "Despite the agreement that only Sector A residents were to be present, the JVT members were surprised to note that the hall was surrounded by the entire residents of the camp."
During the briefing the camp residents reportedly began to abuse the Bhutanese officials and then surrounded them and attacked them. The camp residents broke down the wall and started beating the Bhutanese members of the verification team. One Bhutanese official collapsed on the floor after being struck on the head while the other members were battered with blows and stones, according to the press release.
The camp residents were then reported to have attempted to trap the officials inside the hall and set it on fire. The Bhutanese officials were pelted with stones from all sides. They were abused and stoned until they reached their vehicles which were also damaged by the crowd.
Three or four armed policemen who were present did not intervene, according to the press release.
"Under the terms of reference of the JVT the host country is required to provide full security arrangements," stated the press release. "However, despite requests made by the Bhutanese officials and the risks foreseen by the Nepalese members of the JVT, there were no proper security arrangements and, on the occasion, only one policeman in plain clothes accompanied the Bhutanese members."
The violence broke out on the grounds that the terms and conditions were unacceptable, terms that were already known to the camp residents because copies had already been given to them, the press release stated.
"It is most unfortunate that this should have happened as we approached the last phase of the process leading to a durable solution to the problem of the people in the camps," said the Bhutanese foreign minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk. "Given the serious injuries sustained by our officials and the extreme mental shock and trauma that they have been subjected to, they are no longer in a position to continue their work. Further, they and their families in Bhutan are understandably worried over the serious risk to their lives."
The original news can be reached at this link: http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3572
The following is another update that appeared 4 days after the initial report.
Title: Bhutanese officials attacked by mob in Jhapa
UPDATE December 27, 2003 - Back in Thimphu after a traumatic experience, the Bhutanese members of the Joint Verification Team (JVT) working to verify the people in the camps in eastern Nepal look back on what they all believe was a pre-meditated attack by a large and vicious mob of people.
The team leader, Dasho Sonam Tenzing, explained that, on December 22, the JVT officials from both countries had met in Damak and gone to the camp, about 90 minutes drive from their residence. There were eight Bhutanese nationals including three drivers.
The two teams briefed the people on the terms and conditions for them to remain in Nepal and apply for Nepalese citizenship or to choose to be repatriated to Bhutan. While the violence broke out reportedly on the grounds that the terms and conditions were unacceptable the agreed terms and conditions were not new, said Dasho Sonam Tenzing. “We had already given them in writing to the Nepali government and in fact the Nepali team was carrying it. As agreed by the two governments, both sides were supposed to clarify and explain all doubts that the people might have.”
“The briefing was meant only for those people who were in sector A so we had requested that the briefing would focus only on the people of sector A and also that we would like to do the briefing near the huts belonging to the sector A people,” he said. “But they had arranged a hall made of bamboo which was transparent. The Sector A people were inside the hall, cramped and sitting down. The rest of the people from the camp, about 12,000, were all outside.”
Another official hurt in the attack
Dasho Sonam Tenzing said that, after the briefing all the elders stood up and left the hall. Those waiting outside came in and everyone started abusing the Bhutanese officials. Then they attacked them. “The NVT (Nepali Verification Team) had already left the scene, leaving us there on our own,” he said. “The assault went on for about 30-40 minutes. We tried to go out of the hut but they did not allow us. They were shouting that we shouldn’t be let out and that we should be burned alive. However, we pushed our way through, receiving many blows and stones. Our ghos were torn. We managed to run out of the hut but, outside, we were hit with bamboo sticks and stones.”
One of the team members was knocked unconscious in the hall and was carried out. Another received a head injury after being hit with a stone. Another was hit on his forehead and was badly hurt on his right knee. The Bhutanese officials were continuously attacked all the way to the vehicles that were parked about 75 metres away from the hut. “We ran and got inside the vehicles but they broke the windows and stones landed inside the vehicles. Twelve of these big stones are still with us.”
The Bhutanese foreign ministry described the incident as an “unprovoked act of violence against the officials who were only carrying out the directives of the MJC”. “It is even more disturbing because the entire episode was not spontaneous but pre-meditated,” according to a statement from the ministry. “The events that took place were well planned and well orchestrated, enabled by other residents of the camp who should never have been there.”
The JVT, on the instructions of the 15th ministerial joint committee held in Thimphu in October, had begun its work in December, 2003. “The MJC considered it important to brief the camp residents for transparency and to enable them to make informed choices in exercising their voluntary option to return to Bhutan or stay in Nepal,” according to the statement.
“Under the terms of reference of the JVT the host country is required to provide full security arrangements,” stated the press release. “However, despite requests made by the Bhutanese officials and the risks foreseen by the Nepalese members of the JVT, there were no proper security arrangements on the occasion.”
“I want to make it clear, that it was a pre-meditated attack by the people in the camps,” said Dasho Sonam Tenzing. “I know this because the briefing was not done in seclusion as we had requested, all the elderly people got out before the violence, and the NVT literally abandoned us.”
Dasho Sonam Tenzing pointed out that the terms and conditions read out by the Nepali team was beyond the agreement but the Bhutanese team could not fully understand it because it was in difficult Nepali. “We did not object because they have a right to explain it their way. Our mandate was to explain our terms and conditions. Each country is supposed to make its own position clear to the people. The people have to understand, they have to make their own choice.”
“We were completely shocked,” he added. “We were there to implement the last stage of the agreement. We were there to facilitate the repatriation and re-application and to resolve the problem so we thought it would go smoothly. But we were taken completely off guard by this brutal attack.”
Sonam Tshong of the foreign ministry, who was knocked unconscious in the hall, said that the atmosphere in the hall was terrifying, with even the women shouting abuses and attacking the Bhutanese officials. “They were out to kill us,” he said. The people were reportedly shouting “these bhoteys must be killed… today they should not be allowed to escape.”
Another member of the team said that security was completely inadequate. “We reminded them time and again about security but it was not arranged,” he said. “We only had one person in civil clothes accompanying us. There were four or five security personnel but they were nowhere in the scene during the attack. They came only after it was all over.”
“It is most unfortunate that this should have happened as we approached the last phase of the process leading to a durable solution to the problem of the people in the camps,” said the Bhutanese foreign minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk. “Given the serious injuries sustained by our officials and the extreme mental shock and trauma that they have been subjected to, they are no longer in a position to continue their work. Further, they and their families in Bhutan are understandably worried over the serious risk to their lives.”
By Kinley Dorji & Karma Choden
Original news at this link: http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3589
One Bhutanese official collapsed on the floor after he was struck on the head. The crowd punched and stoned the Bhutanese officials and beat them with bamboo sticks. After three officials were injured and the Bhutanese vehicles damaged, they managed to escape to the Lifeline Hospital in Damak town. In the early hours of December 23 the Bhutanese officials left Damak on the instructions of the royal government which had arranged an Indian security escort from the Nepal border to Phuentsholing. "
- Excerpted from Kuensel (10 July 2004).
In the 82nd National Assembly session held in July 2004, Foreign Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk made a detailed report on the attack on the Bhutanese members of the Joint Verification Team (JVT) at Khudanbari camp on 22 December 2003. Here are some excerpts from the Kuensel news report titled "Assembly calls for proper investigation into JVT attack and action against perpetrators" published on 10 July 2004:
He (Foreign Minister) traced the origins of the camps to January, 1991, when the first group of people claiming to be refugees were allowed to enter Nepal. Bhutan’s attempts to prevent the establishment of camps and facilities that might attract the poor masses in the region were ignored.
It was only in July, 1993, that proper screening procedures for people claiming to be Bhutanese refugees were introduced. Until then the screening of such people were given to the people in the camps who were themselves claiming to be refugees. Once proper screening procedures were introduced there was a dramatic drop in the entry of people into the camps.
He then explained the bilateral process as the two governments met in July, 1993, and established the ministerial joint committee (MJC) that had, over the years, achieved several significant steps towards a durable solution to the problem
The MJC had categorised the people and harmonised the positions of the two governments on each category, established the joint verification team (JVT), and agreed that the solution would be found within the framework of the laws in the two countries.
The JVT started work at Khudunabari camp in March, 2001, and the results of its work was confirmed during the 15th MJC held in Thimphu in October, 2003. Among several significant decisions taken by the MJC, it was agreed that the repatriation of those found eligible would begin in February, 2004.
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that the attack on the Bhutanese members of the JVT took place when the JVT returned to Nepal for the final assignments mandated by the MJC. At Khudunabari camp, on December 22, the Bhutanese officials, having already expressed their security concerns in writing to their Nepalese counterparts, began their briefing. About half an hour into the briefing they were attacked by the people in the make-shift hut, joined by most of the 12,000 people outside who also stormed in.
One Bhutanese official collapsed on the floor after he was struck on the head. The crowd punched and stoned the Bhutanese officials and beat them with bamboo sticks. After three officials were injured and the Bhutanese vehicles damaged, they managed to escape to the Lifeline Hospital in Damak town. In the early hours of December 23 the Bhutanese officials left Damak on the instructions of the royal government which had arranged an Indian security escort from the Nepal border to Phuentsholing.
“What happened on December 22 was a failure of the Nepalese government to honour its responsibility towards the safety and security of the Bhutanese officials,” said the foreign minister. “But we are proud of the courage, dedication, and dignity with which our officials conducted themselves and appreciate the understanding with which their family members endured the constant worry over their safety.”
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck submitted to the Assembly a detailed report of the actions taken by the government after the incident.
The government was, at that time, pre-occupied with the military operations. On being informed of the attack the foreign ministry issued a press release and the foreign minister called his counterpart on the same day to express his regret over the incident and to explain the withdrawal of the Bhutanese officials. The government had raised the issue with the Nepalese leaders during the 12th SAARC summit in January and the two foreign ministers met again at the BIMST-EC meeting in Thailand in February.
The foreign minister said that he had conveyed to his Nepalese counterpart that the December 22 incident was very serious as the Bhutanese members of the JVT could have been killed. The Bhutanese people were shocked and angered by the incident and could not understand the violent behaviour of the people in the camp when the process had reached the last stage and could only be of benefit to them. He expressed his conviction that the incident was pre-planned and premeditated and not provoked as it had been alleged by groups in Nepal with vested interests. The terms and conditions read out at the camp were not new because copies had been handed over to them as far back as June.
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that he had expressed his surprise and regret that an enquiry, that should have been a normal step, had not been initiated. He requested the Nepalese government to conduct a thorough enquiry into the incident, to punish the perpetrators, and to put in place safety and security measures before resuming work.
“The last time our officials had been lucky to escape with their lives but the same cannot be taken for granted in the future,” he said. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that the Nepalese foreign minister had expressed his regret over the incident and also his doubts whether an investigation would be of any use. While there was no communication from Nepal for the next two months the Nepalese media had described the incident as a “minor scuffle” and the international community raised concerns about the stalled bilateral process.
“We have always maintained that we are committed to the bilateral process and the agreements reached during the 15th MJC meeting are a clear confirmation of our seriousness in seeking a lasting solution to the problem,” he said. “If our officials had not been attacked the repatriation would have started in February. We said that, if the international community was interested in helping the resumption of the talks, they should ask Nepal to act on our request to investigate the incident, to take action against the perpetrators, and put in place adequate security measures.”
The Nepalese foreign minister had called on April 5 to propose a ministerial meeting preceded by a meeting of senior officials. Bhutan’s foreign minister responded on April 12. “I made it clear that, given the seriousness of the incident and the strong public concern in Bhutan I would not be in a position to propose a resumption of the process without the Nepalese government investigating the incident, initiating legal action against the perpetrators, and putting in place adequate security measures,” the minister informed the Assembly.
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that the Bhutanese embassy in New Delhi had received on May 12 the “Report of investigation of the incident at Khudunabari camp on December 22, 2003”, forwarded by the Nepalese foreign minister. But the report contained a number of factual inaccuracies and fell far short of Bhutan’s requests. “The report states that no individuals could be identified as being responsible for the incident, it alleges that the attack was provoked by the Bhutanese officials, and also calls on the royal government to further relax the terms and conditions,” said Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk. “It seems to be the conclusion of the investigation report that beating up the Bhutanese officials should lead to further relaxation of Bhutan’s terms and conditions under its citizenship laws.”
Bhutanese members of the JVT, meanwhile, had expressed their dismay at the callous attitude of the Nepalese government. Apart from the fact that the terms and conditions had long been known to the camp people who had not complained about them in the past, there had been many tactics to intimidate the Bhutanese officials. They were harassed at the market, they were threatened at night, even with decapitation, and there had been aggressive strikes in front of the office of the Bhutanese verification team.
The foreign minister said that, despite the severe shortcomings and inaccuracies in the report, the royal government had indicated to the Nepalese government that, in the interest of moving the bilateral process forward, the report could be considered positively if Nepal deleted the unacceptable reference to the relaxation of the terms and conditions pertaining to the citizenship laws. The two governments had not only respected each other’s terms and conditions in the past, the investigation was meant to identify and take action against the perpetrators so the issue was out of context. It also sent the negative message that the attack and beating of Bhutanese officials would lead to further relaxation of the terms and conditions of the Citizenship Acts.
Nepal’s foreign minister had said that he understood Bhutan’s view but would need to consult his government. Meanwhile the government changed and he said that the response would have to be given by the new government. The foreign minister said that the government was still waiting for a reply from Nepal and was now seriously concerned about the political and security situation in Nepal.
Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk informed the Assembly that there were other developments that might have serious implications on Bhutan’s security. A Bhutan Gorkha Liberation Front and a Bhutan Communist Party had been formed, the latter with links to the Maoists in Nepal. The Maoists were recruiting people from the camps and some of them had even taken part in attacks in Nepal. More than 2,000 of them had moved into India and could be close to the Indo-Bhutan border. These people posed a serious threat to Bhutan’s security.
“On our part the royal government will abide by all the agreements we have reached with Nepal to find a lasting and durable solution to the issue of the people in the camps,” said Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk. “This includes our commitment to take back all those people in the camps who have been found to be genuine Bhutanese refugees. In carrying out the discussions and agreements with Nepal we will, as in the past, continue to be guided by our national laws, the
Citizenship Acts, and the resolutions of the National Assembly.”
Many chimis expressed their views and concerns after the foreign minister’s report. They submitted that the Nepalese government’s first report was completely unacceptable. It was not possible that the Nepalese government could not identify and take legal action against the criminals in Khudunabari camp.
On the related developments, including the movement of people outside the camps, several chimis said that it was time for Bhutan to be aware of the implications and take necessary measures to ensure that Bhutan does not face Maoist problems as in Nepal.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dasho Ugen Dorje, noted that the Assembly had witnessed an outpouring of anger and indignation from the chimis over the assault on the Bhutanese members of the joint verification team and it was clearly a priority issue for the Assembly. The foreign minister had submitted a detailed and clear explanation of the actions taken by the government.
The National Assembly of Bhutan recorded its appreciation and commendation to the ministerial joint committee and the Bhutanese JVT members for their dedication in discharging their work and their loyalty to their nation.
While the relations between Bhutan and Nepal had greatly improved and the bilateral process had made significant achievements in 15 rounds of talks since 1993, the process had stalled at a critical stage, just before repatriation could take place. The next step was not clear because of the instability of the Nepalese government and its preoccupation with the Maoist problem. Under the circumstances it was vital that the two governments thoroughly discuss the issue and make sure that the necessary measures were taken to prevent such an incident from ever occurring again. This must be finalised before the bilateral process resumed.
The Speaker also noted that the government should continue to strictly adhere to the resolutions of the National Assembly, the Citizenship Acts of Bhutan, and the laws of the land.
Reproduced Courtesy of Kuensel.
The complete news report can be found at the following link.