Government of Bhutan created refugees

Published on Oct 13 2010 // Opinion
By Dr. Bhampa Rai

On one of the fine days of early 1991, Nepalese people at Kakarvitta near Indo-Nepal border witnessed about 450 people with worn out faces and woozy looks entering Nepal looking for temporary shelter who in response provided the best of services and support that they could render at their level. They were all Bhutanese seeking asylum after being evicted of their ancestral land.

Unable to get asylum in India, the first country they entered after leaving Bhutan, these people had no options but to seek shelter in Nepal. Moreover, the Indian border security forces instigated them enter Nepal. Eviction was the result of these people’s demand for justice and institutionalization of Human Rights as enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Bhutan is signatory, to safeguard themselves from discriminatory and suppressive policies being imposed on them that obliterate their faith, culture and way of life.

Instead of hearing to their appeal, the Royal government chose to militarize the region launching brutal method of crackdown, following intimidation, arbitrary arrest, torture and killing in makeshift detention cells.  Schools were converted into interrogation centers, while women were raped, houses were zeroed to ashes and valuable documents confiscated alongside the militarization of villages and towns. In such dreaded state of affairs, those affected Bhutanese people had to flee the country for their lives.  Their relatives and others, who decided to remain behind too were coerced into signing voluntary migration forms at the gun point and finally evicted from their homeland.

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