India must play positive role for Bhutan democracy

Published on Jan 30 2010 // Main News

January 30, 2010: Despite being a leading democracy in world, India always remained silent spectator to many of the democratic struggles in its neighbor. Bhutan is one of them, where India not only acted as mere spectator but sided with autocracy to crash democratic fight.

Bhutan Media Society (BMS) called upon leaders from diverse background on Friday in Kathmandu to put up their view on role of India in resolving the issues of exiled Bhutanese, who have spent decades in Nepal and are flying beyond seven seas in search of better days.

Speaking at the interactions, chairman of the Indo Bhutan Friendship Society (IBFS) Prof. Anand Kumar, who is also the chairman of the South Asian Citizens’ Initiative for Democracy, said his organization is set to launch various activities that would pressure on Bhutan for repatriation of exiled Bhutanese who wish to go back.

He said, the peaceful means are the only best measures for securing rights and democracy. “IBFS will dedicate the year 2010 for democratic struggle in Bhutan and rightful repatriation of those who wish to go back,” he added.

Leader of UCPN (Maoist) C. P. Gajurel however, said the only option for oppressed Bhutanese to get justice is to take up arms. “For years, you waited for peaceful means to get justice but ultimately it was resettlement that you were offered against your interest to go back.”

He added, since the issue is of political nature, seeking solution on humanitarian ground would not give a justifiable solution of the crisis.

He expressed his party’s readiness to extend any form of solidarity and support for struggle inside Bhutan.

Bhutanese human rights leader Tek Nath Rizal said he is optimistic of positive roles from India in resolving the issues. He said, pressure on Bhutan to liberalize the politics, withdrawal of travel restriction clamped on Rongthong Kuenley Dorji are some of the latest hints that India has given in favor of oppressed Bhutanese citizens. “The process should continue to new heights,” he added.

Chairman of Bhutan People’s Party Balaram Poudel urged the government of Nepal to clarify its stand on bilateral issue. “Unless Nepal withdraws from bilateral process, India will not engaged in this process,” he said.

Other Bhutanese leader R. P. Subba said even after two decades, India’s attitude on the Bhutanese movement remains cold and questionable.

He added, “If India continues to nurse its own agenda of coaxing the King, she may lose her own credibility in the international arena. The Bhutanese haven taken stories of Indian paranoia to every country of settlement. India should clearly stay away from an active involvement in cooking a solution to the Bhutanese problem.”

In a statement issued by Druk National Congress on the occasion said the party wants the process of repatriation start alongside resettlement process. The party said, since there are some thousands of exiled Bhutanese willing to get repatriated, the process must start at the earliest possible.