In 1990, when the southern Bhutan problem was at its peak, a news report by Kyodo News Agency reported that Bhutanese armed forces had engaged in mass-shooting of the demonstrators. However, as the following news report says, as well as the UNHCR report confirms, it was soon recognized to be a false report spread by the demonstrators or their sympathizers across the border.
The following news reported in New York Times in October 1990 says, "In the last week of September, sympathizers of the movement in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, were able to have unconfirmed accounts of mass shootings transmitted by two international news agencies, Kyodo and Agence France-Presse. Both have subsequently transmitted denials. "
"Both accounts, saying respectively that 327 or 200 people had died in southern Bhutan between Sept. 20 and 25, were untrue, according to Bhutanese diplomats here and officials in the capital, Thimphu, backed by Indian newspaper reports from Bhutan and the Indian state of West Bengal. "
Please read the following news to know more.
Title: India-Based Groups Seek to Disrupt Bhutan
By BARBARA CROSSETTE,
Special to The New York Times
Published: October 7, 1990Twitter
Mail Print NEW DELHI, Oct. 6— The small Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan has become the target of a well-organized campaign, based in India, to stir up violent opposition to the country's moves to protect itself and its culture from illegal immigration.
Waged largely on behalf of Nepali and Indian citizens denied the right to settle in the small kingdom, where standards of living are relatively high and business opportunities plentiful, the militant campaign has been appealing to international human-rights groups to recognize it as a ''pro democracy'' movement.
In the last two months, reports from several recently formed Indian-based groups with names like the Bhutan People's Party or the Forum for Human Rights in Bhutan have asserted that mass arrests, torture and the suppression of minority rights are occurring under King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan.
In August, the Hong Kong-based Asian Students Association held a news conference here to publicize the accusations and call for demonstrations. None of the student leaders speaking at the conference had visited Bhutan.
In the last week of September, sympathizers of the movement in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, were able to have unconfirmed accounts of mass shootings transmitted by two international news agencies, Kyodo and Agence France-Presse. Both have subsequently transmitted denials.
Both accounts, saying respectively that 327 or 200 people had died in southern Bhutan between Sept. 20 and 25, were untrue, according to Bhutanese diplomats here and officials in the capital, Thimphu, backed by Indian newspaper reports from Bhutan and the Indian state of West Bengal.
What happened in Bhutan in September, Bhutanese and others say, was that several thousand armed militants crossed into the country from India and tried to foment an uprising among Bhutanese of Nepali descent.
Bhutanese officials say that 2 people were killed and more than 400 were arrested. All but 36 were subsequently pardoned by King Jigme.
Sunanda K. Datta Ray, editor of The Statesman of Calcutta, who has been leading a journalistic effort to set the record straight on what is happening in Bhutan, calls the new campaign a ''propaganda war against Bhutan.''
Mr. Datta Ray, writing in articles and editorials, has drawn a parallel with the externally generated movement that destabilized the kingdom of Sikkim in the early 1970's, leading to its seizure and incorporation by India. The Bhutanese believe themselves to be the guardians of the last Himalayan Buddhist kingdom, squeezed between China and overpopulated India.
''No question of democratic dissent lies at the heart of the turbulence,'' an editorial in The Statesman said on Sept. 26. ''The truth of the matter is that a large number of ethnic Nepalese who are not bonafide citizens of Bhutan have gathered on the kingdom's borders in an attempt to force an entry. Putting it bluntly, they are economic refugees spoiling for a showdown to win the world's sympathy.''
Sonam Tobden Rabgye, First Secretary of the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi, said in an interview Monday that the roots of the militancy go back to 1988, when Bhutan decided to take a census of its population and to begin enforcing a ''Bhutanese way of life,'' including national dress, architectural styles and languages.
Reproduced courtesy of The New York Times.
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