Friday, April 13, 2012
According the fore word by king Jigme Singey Wangchuk to revised second edition, the book “ BHUTAN” 1978, written by Nagendra Singh, the constitutional advisor to Royal Government of Bhutan from 1970 to until he was elected as Judge of International Court of Justice, later was Vice-President of International Court of Justice, the king has clearly accepted what was Bhutan before 7th Century A.D. and Country of Origin, (CO) of the present ruling elite and northern Bhutanese.
Thus, King Jigme agreed that the day’s Bhutan was a part of Kamarupa, Assam before 7th Century A.D. and was ruled by Indian rulers. After the death of Bhaskara Varman, the ruler of the tutelage of Kamarupa, today’s Bhutan separated from Kamarupa only to expose itself Tibetan incursions which swept this tutelage of Kamarupa, today’s Bhutan about 861-900 A.D. The Tibetans who swarmed this tutelage often pillaging it, however came to like it much they refused to return Tibet and those deserters were called “Milog”. Those Tibetans found this area with better economy and fertile land to aid their economy in the days to come. In the later centuries their number continue to increase with more and more immigrants of Tibetans to this area.
BUDDHISM IN BHUTAN:-
In the 8th Century a famous monk Guru Padmashambhawa from Swat (now in Pakistan) visited Bumthang Bhutan at the request of Indian ruler, Sindhuraja also called Naguchi and introduce Nyngmapa sect of Buddhism first time in Bhutan. He also banned cannibalism practiced by the local people.
IMMIGRATION OF LAMAS TO BHUTAN:-
From 12th century A.D. onwards many lamas from Tibet started pouring into this area, today’s Bhutan as missionary workers to preach other Sect of Buddhism but they never returned Tibet and settled down here permanently. BHUTAN by Nagendra Singh 1978 : 19 later they started ruling this areas in small territories after displacing Indian rulers. And to name some of those lamas was Gyawa Lhanangpa, Phago Drugen Zhikpo, Longchhenpa Drime Ozer, Barawa Pasang and Kunga Pajo. Modern Bhutan by Ram Rahul 1971:19
Although this part of Kamarupa, today’s Bhutan was occupied and ruled by Immigrated Tibetans and their descendants after ousted Indian rulers, the entire political arena, inspite of loose image of cultural unity that was emerging, was surcharged with multiple chiefs holding sway od their small territories vying with each other in fratricidal struggle. In such situation, in 1616 A.D. a powerful monk Ngawang Namgyel from Ralung in Tibet immigrated to this area and unified all those territories after defeating all feudal chiefs. After this he took the title of Zhabdrung. So Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is also called as founder of modern Bhutan.
Later part of his rule in Bhutan Zhabdrung decentralized his absolute power creating Dharma Raja to look after the religious affair and Devraja to look after the general administration, finance and foreign affairs. Further he created posts of Penlops to work under Dharmaraja and Devraja. But after the death of Zhabdrung the Penlops became more powerful and started fighting for Power Supremacy. After many civil wars and much bloodshed Tongsa Penlop, Ugyen Wangchuk emerged as most powerful Penlop in 1885 and worked as Penlop from 1881 to 1907 when he became first king of Bhutan by the help of British India. While he was as penlop he, for the first time introduce the system of Kashog (edict) to the immigrants.
“The Origin of Drukyul is the Drukpa Sect. Lamaism which held sway in Bhutan from early 17th century A.D.” BHUTAN by Nagendra Singh 1978:6.
As mentioned before, the early immigrants from Tibet and their descendants were ruling Bhutan did not bother, as there was no developed system until late 19th century to restrict immigrants either from Tibet or from Gorkha (now in Nepal). The immigration of Gorkhas dates back as early as 16th century or before but was never recorded in the history of Bhutan due to absence of such system. Then, people like late Kazi Dalchan Gurung whose great grandson Dasho Megraj Gurung still living in Thimpu Bhutan from Sikkim and late Dhanbir Burathoki whose great-great grandson Mr. Rituraj chettri practicing law in Thimpu Bhutan from Gorkha (now in Nepal) immigrated to Toribari (Samchi) and Bara Dzongsarpa Bhutan respectively, in later part of 19th century, after obtaining Kashog (edict) from Tongsa penlop is not recorded anywhere in the history of Bhutan. Those two people were permitted by Penlops to settle additional Gorkhas in Bara, Samchi and Southern Bhutan.
Even Prime-Minister of Bhutan Jigme Y. Thinley did mention in his article Bhutan: A kingdom Be seized Eden Asley finding settlement Gorkhas in Southern Bhutan in 1863, David F. Rennie finds in 1864, Charles Bell finds in 1904 and John Claude finds in 1905. But, P.M. must remember that those findings of those dignitaries were only finding is their en-route to Thimpu, Paro, Tongsa, etc. on political missions and not finding of whole Southern Bhutan as Southern Bhutan was restricted then and even today for foreigners.
Later Gorkhas were not happy with oppressive ruler of Bhutan even after Ugen Wangchuk became king, the Gorkhas formed a political party “Jaigorkha” to fight back oppression and organized a mass demonstration at Dagana Bhutan in late 40’s. This party was suppressed by the regime but another political party called “Bhutan State Congress” was formed under leadership of Mahasuv Chettry. Later Mahasuv Chettry was killed by the regime and his political party was brutally crush in Sharbang Bhutan. Even now it operated from outside.
Bhutanese authorities decided to grant citizenship to all domiciled in the country, (Drukpas, Sarchhupas, Khengpa, Brokpa, Doyas and Gorkhas/Nepalese) effective before 31st Dec. 1958. In 1958, Bhutan passed its first citizenship Act and the entire southern Bhutanese population was granted full citizenship.
National Assembly of Bhutan, Resolution No. 3, 11th. Session, 1958
“It is resolved that henceforth Nepalese of Southern Bhutan should abide by the rules and regulations of the Royal Government and, pledging their allegiance to the King, should conscientiously refrain from serving another authority (such as Gorkha). They should submit a signed agreement to this effect to the Government. In addition, southern Bhutanese should themselves shoulder the responsibility of protecting the southern border”.
National Assembly of Bhutan, Resolution No. 8, 11th Session, 1958
“There were two ethnic groups in the kingdom under the rule of His Majesty the King. Since Nepalese inhabiting southern Bhutan as bonafide citizens of this country have submitted bond agreements affirming their allegiance to the King and the country, the Assembly resolved that from this date Nepalese will enjoy equal rights in the National Assembly, and in the country, as other bon-fide citizens.”
In 1961, India started building a first road in Bhutan when all Southern Bhutanese hard to work as compulsory labour until the project finished. Besides, this the Southern Bhutanese equally if not more had contributed for infrastructure building of Nation. Even then, the rulers of Bhutan started discrimination suppressing Southern Bhutan as before. When suppression arose beyond tolerance the Southern Bhutanese organized a peaceful rally to protest oppression. But, the Government of Bhutan was looking for such excuse by which it could label its people antinational, terrorist, economic migrant, illegal immigrants even Indians. With such pretext the country Bhutan evictees more than one hundred thousand of bonafide Southern Bhutan and some eastern Bhutanese to become refugees in Nepal and elsewhere.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
According the foreword by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan to the revised second edition “ BHUTAN” 1978, by Nagendra Singh, the constitutional advisor of the Royal government of Bhutan from 1970 until he was elected as judge of the International Court of Justice 1972, later as Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, the king has clearly accepted today’s Bhutan was a tutelage of Kamarupa, Assam (India) ruled by Indian rulers until 650 A.D and the Country of Origin(CO) of the northern Bhutanese and present dynasty to be Tibet.
After the death of Bhaskarverman, the ruler of Kamarupa today’s Bhutan got separated from Kamarupa only to expose itself to incursions from Tibet which swept it in about 861-900 AD “BHUTAN” by Nagendra Singh 1978: 18. Prior to this there were no Tibetans(Bhuteas) in today’s Bhutan. Those Tibetans who swarmed Bhutan liked it so much they refused to return Tibet and such deserters were called “Milog”. It was mainly due to better economic conditions of this area that attracted the Tibetans. Later gradually those Tibetans ousted Indian rulers along with their people and today no descendants of those Indian rulers are present in Bhutan to label all immigrants to Bhutan as “illegal immigrants”.
Since 12th century AD onwards some prominent lamas from Tibet started immigrating to today’s Bhutan and started ruling this area in small different territories under each lama. Later in early 17th century AD, all those territories were unified by a monk, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who immigrated to Bhutan in 1616 AD from Ralung in Tibet. He reigned this unified nation under theocratic system which still persist in present Bhutan through “Driglam Namza” under cover of “unique democracy”.
Although the king system in Bhutan was established in 1907, the ruling system persisted as that of medieval and theocratic for which people of Bhutan were not happy. In such difficult situations the people of southern Bhutan dared to form a political party called “Jaigorkha” to address their grievances against discrimination and oppression and organized a mass peaceful protest rally at Dagana Bhutan in 1947. This party was brutally crushed down by the regime with the help of government of India. Following this once again another political party “Bhutan State Congress” was formed in 1952 to address the grievances of the Bhutanese. Instantly the member of the party were killed in Sarbhang Bhutan and the leader of the party late Mahasur Chhetry from Chirang was assassinated by the regime.
Because of the protest of those two parties the then rulers of Bhutan were promulgated to grant citizenship to all the Bhutanese for the first time in Bhutan, to those who domiciled in Bhutan on or before 31st December 1958 after resolution of the National Assembly of Bhutan. But the census record was maintained by the village heads(Mandals) and Dewans of respective areas. Until 1968 only when Ministry of Home Affairs of Bhutan was established.
After 1958 all the Bhutanese citizens were quite happy and living in harmony. They all equally contributed to the nation building programs until late 80’s when the rulers of Bhutan shook them out of their cloister by implementing discriminatory, suppressing policies and conducting irrational census exercises only in southern Bhutan.
Since mid 80s, with strong inbuilt intention of ethnic cleansing the rulers of Bhutan conducted illogical census exclusively in southern districts in 1988 that forcefully disqualified as many bonafide southern Bhutanese and were labeled them as economic immigrants. Such discriminatory policies of the rulers of Bhutan was resented and they organized peaceful mass rally in southern Bhutan in 1990 and in eastern Bhutan in 1997. Instantly the demonstrators were labeled as anti-nationals and terrorists . and some Bhutanese were later labeled as “illegal immigrants” to sound their campaigning more impressive to the world community. Now, how much justifiable is it? When the descendants of earlier immigrants by virtue of being in power labeling the descendants of later immigrants as illegal immigrants and evicting them from their motherland, Bhutan to make them refugees.
In mid 90s when International pressure on Bhutan grew stronger the ruler of Bhutan accepted the truth of bonafide Bhutanese living in the eastern Nepal and itself proposed to categorized and verify them. But as the time lapsed and the pressure from the International community laxed the rules of Bhutan came up with hypothetic slogan of “Gross National Happiness” in Bhutan to fool the world community. In this regards Bhutanese rulers seem more smarter than many diplomats and bureaucracies who are appreciating this hypothetical slogan without knowing real situation of Bhutan and the Bhutanese. Is it not like blessing to Lord Shiva to demon Bhasmasura?
True “Gross National Happiness” ?
How sensible and rational Bhutan be happy when their relatives and nationalists are evicted from their motherland Bhutan without their mistake and not allowed to meet even at the occasions like death ceremonies; when the landed properties of their evicted relatives all distributed to other Bhutanese. When they do not have rights to express their grievances; when their vast land of northern Bhutan is handed over to Chinese authority without their consent; when rulers make treaty to piled up arms and ammunitions only to subdue voices of Bhutanese now and in future; when their motherland, Bhutan is mortgaged only for protection of rulers forever etc.
Every rational Bhutanese and International community know that the happiness of Bhutanese mostly depends on people of India and the government of India. Then why blatantly bluff the innocent Bhutanese and International community having no deep knowledge about the Bhutanese rulers and condition of Bhutanese in remote Bhutan. The supporters of the hypothetic slogan of “Gross National Happiness” in Bhutan by the Bhutanese rulers are either ignorant about true situation of Bhutan and Bhutanese people or properly bribed by the Bhutanese rulers to sing this hypothetic slogan shamelessly.
True Nationalist ?
By now the world know that large area, about 10 thousand square kilometer of northern Bhutan is handed over to Chinese authority, though same rulers were very bravely were able to confiscate the lands of southern Bhutanese, without the knowledge of the people of unique democratic country of Bhutan. Similarly these rulers were ready to sacrifice one of the southern districts to-------------------------(? India) after resettling all exiled bonafide Bhutanese of Gorkha/Nepali ethnic when the International pressure grew in Bhutan regarding exiled Bhutanese. Bhutanese refugees in Nepal by Professor Mahendra P.Lama 2007:22. Such behavior of the Bhutanese rulers definitely should invite the question about their nationalistic feeling. Why they should pretend to be what they are not and what right have they got to label bonafide Bhutanese as “illegal immigrants”. World community do not dare to ask when themselves are lacking nationalist feeling- this question because they are in power.
BHUTAN AND ITS PEOPLE
Bhutan, as we know today, lies on the southern slope of the western half of the eastern Himalayan range and to the south of the Tibetan autonomous region of China. While two rivers Jhaldhaka and Dhansiri respectively demarcate its western and eastern border with India, the plains of Assam and Bengal Duars border it in the south. And this border in the south with India was re-demarcated in 1972-73. However, its border in the north with China is not yet clearly marked. Though in most parts the northern border is clearly defined by the watershed, there are some areas where the issue is yet to be settled making the geographical size of Bhutan variable. In the past, Bhutan was much bigger and extensive geographically and had common border with Assam and Koch-Behar and extended up to the Teesta river in the west. But after the conflict of 1864-65 with British India, Bhutan lost the entire strip of the 18 Duars in Assam and Bengal and the part beyond from the right bank of river Jaldhaka to river Teesta to British-India with the treaty of Sinchula in 1865.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF BHUTAN
Available records suggest that since 840 A.D big flow of immigration took place to this area from Tibet, known then as Bhot, and soon it was colonized by the soldiers of Tibetan garrison and their descendents. Besides them many lamas too had immigrated to this area. And since they had all immigrated from Bhot, outsiders saw this place mainly occupied by Bhuteas, as people of Bhot, they started calling it as a place of Bhuteas, i.e., Bhuteas- sthan, and later it got the name Bhutan. In this regard, the theory put forth by David Field Rennie(1866) is interesting and credible. (BHUTAN by Nagendra Singh)
PEOPLE OF BHUTAN
According to the Sanskrit tradition, it is believed that people of Kooch tribe lived and ruled Bhutan since the 7th century B.C to 650 century A.D when this area was under the tutelage of Kamrupa (Assam, India). The origin of Sarchops, seen as descendants of heaven in Bhutanese tradition, Borokpas in the east and Doyas, Totas etc in the west of this area is still obscure but it is true that those tribes were there much before the immigration of Bhuteas from Tibet with the immigration of Gorkha/Nepali descent much later. (MODERN BHUTAN by Ram Rahul:7).
POPULATION OF BHUTAN
The 1962 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica gives the population of Bhutan as 6,23,000. The State Department of Bulletin in its status of world’s nations puts the population figure at 7,15,000 in 1965. In the 1966 edition of the International Year Book, a figure of 7,00,000 is cited. In the U.S Army handbook, prepared at the American University, the population of Bhutan in 1964 is placed at 7,25,000. (BHUTAN BY Nagendra Singh 1972:13).
So the population has varied. The census of Bhutanese citizens, first in the history of Bhutan, was conducted in 1968 which declared the population of Bhutan to be 1.2 million. And this figure was reflected in the United Nations Organization while Bhutan became its member in 1971. But the population of Bhutan has often been used by the government of Bhutan to meet its political ends. No actual figure has ever been published. When it comes to the actual size of its population, it is expediency and not accuracy that seems to have dictated the government position. And that is why in 1990 this number was suddenly reduced to somewhere around 5,00,000 and what followed was the eviction of more than one hundred thousand bona fide Bhutanese citizens of Gorkha/Nepali ethnicity from the south including many eastern Bhutanese of Sarchhop descent. Now the government shamelessly labels them illegal immigrants, economic migrants, terrorists, anti-nationals, disgruntled Bhutanese and lately even Indians.
HISTORY OF BHUTAN IN BRIEF
A proper record on Bhutan is not available until we come to 7th century AD. But the earliest legend takes us back to about 7th century before the Christian Era (BC) when Sangaldip from Kooch-Behar (India) held sway in this area after subduing Bengal, Bihar and Assam (all in India). Thereafter and until several centuries AD later, his descendants ruled Bhutan as tutelage of Kamrup (India). On the basis of legends it can be stated with precision that the ancient civilization of India had spread to this area and had dominated political and social as well as religious life. But in 650 AD, Bhutan got separated from Kamrup and thus exposed itself to incursion from Tibet (BHUTAN by Nagendra Singh 1972:18). The last Kooch Raja, descendant of Sangaldip, was displaced from his capital in Punakha by a lama who came from Tibet. While escaping from Bhutan, the Kooch Raja left behind many of his people in Punakha and their descendants are called Dhep / Thep in and are living even now in the Punakha and Wangdi valleys (POLITICAL MISSION TO BHUTAN by Asley Eden).
In the middle of the 8th century AD, Sindhu Raja also called Naguchi, another Indian ruler, ruled Bhutan after establishing his capital in Bumthang where he built a castle called the Chakhar Dzong (iron castle without doors) that still stands as evidence even today. During his reign, the border of Bhutan extended up to Sikkim in the west and then too immigration of people from all directions to Bhutan seemed to have continued without restriction. Sindu Raja lost his powerful eldest son in the course of war with Raja Nabudara and was stricken with grief. At this time, Sindu Raja invited a renowned monk, Guru Padma Sambhawa from Swat (now in Pakistan) to Bumthang. The monk introduced Nyngmapa sect of Mahayana Buddhism in Bhutan (BHUTAN AND THE BRITISH by Peter Collester 1987:4). Thus Sindu Raja is responsible for introducing Buddhism in Bhutan. Later, Sindu Raja accepted Buddhism and his country was gradually taken over by the lamas those that had immigrated from Tibet (Bhot).
Immigration of Bhuteas:
In fact, Bhuteas from Bhot (Tibet) started immigrating to Bhutan as early as 650 AD as there was no restriction for immigration to Bhutan but history of their immigration, except in the case of those few prominent lamas, was never recorded. After the middle of 13th century AD, many lamas from Bhot (Tibet) visited Bhutan as missionary and settled there to propagate Buddhism as most of the people in Bhutan were then Bhuteas immigrated from Tibet. In this seamless process, one of the most popular figure was the successor of Gro-Gong Tshangpa Gyal-ras (1160-1210 AD), the founder of the Drukpa offshoot sub-sect of Nyngmapa, Kagyupa, Phago Drugom Sigpo who immigrated to Bhutan from Ralung in central Tibet to preach Buddhism and settled down in Bhutan. Later, Phago Drugom Sigpo became a very popular leader of this area. The people of Bhutan regard Phago Drugom Sigpo as the fore runner of the present Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism in Bhutan. Majority of the aristocracy of western Bhutan including the present Royal dynasty claim their descent from him.
For many centuries, until the treaty of Sinchula between Bhutan and British-India signed on 11th November 1865, the western border of Bhutan was the left bank of river Teesta (now in India). In those days there was no restriction for immigration either from Bhot (Tibet) or from small kingdoms (now in Nepal) in the west of Bhutan, but none noted about such immigrants until the mid 19th century when a kasho (edict) system was introduced for the immigrants. During those days, Bhuteas including many officers hardly knew in detail about Bhutan. In this context, a revenue surveyor of British- India had reported to Charles Bell in 1877 that ‘ a more difficulty could be met with ……………………even few Bhuteas I had with me knew little or nothing about their own country’ (BHUTAN AND THE BRITISH-Peter Collester 1987:140).
Although thousands of Bhuteas from Bhot (Tibet) immigrated to Bhutan for centuries, none of them settled in today’s southern parts of Bhutan. But they used to come down as lamas and in groups claiming themselves to be sent by Paro Penlop to the southern parts of Bhutan, which was occupied or settled by Gorkhas / Nepalese and Sikkimese, and use to extort cash and kind on and of until the early 20th century. Similarly some group of Bhuteas encroached on orange gardens owned by southern Bhutanese during the fruiting season and sell oranges without permission of real owners. In such situation, once in Changkuna (near phutsholing) a quarrel ensued between them and the real owners and some of the Bhuteas had to shed blood before they withdraw from such encroachment in around 1947.
Immigration of Ngawang Namgyal:
Over the centuries distinctive faith developed and that was accelerated when some members of the old monastic school immigrated to Bhutan as refugees from political strife in Bhot (Tibet). In this time line, the immigration of monk Ngawang Namgyal along with his subordinates from Ralung in central Bhot (Tibet) in 1616 AD is considered a watershed moment in the history of Bhutan. He consolidated factional and rival groups and emerged as the undisputed leader of Bhutan. After that he constituted the central monastic body under him after defeating many monastic overlords ruling different parts of Bhutan in 1639 and took the title of ‘Zhabdrung’(BHUTAN AND THE BRITISH-Peter Collester 1987:5). After uniting different parts, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal named the territory the “Drukyul” and the inhabitants of this area were called “Drukpas” and its ruler the “Druk Gyalpo”. Prominence and fame of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal spread far and wide and received friendly missions. Neighboring rulers of Kooch Behar (India), Drabya Saha and Paramanda Saha of Gorkha, small kingdom then in the west of Nepal sent him presents and sought for friendship (BHUTAN-Nagendra Singh 1972:21). Zhabdrung took many skilled craftsmen along with their families to Bhutan for constructing Chhorten (Stupa) for his deceased father Tempai Nyima and settled them in Bhutan. Mani, Mayang, Zatiphala, Ani Phala and Mangala etc. were some of those craftsmen (WHERE IS THE 10TH ZHABDRUNG? By T.Penjore, 2011:8).
Similarly, Deb Minjur Tempa (1667-1680) took many Newari craftsmen to Bhutan along with their families. Those people were settled near chhozom (confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers) who later lost their identity due to inter-marriage with local people only to survive in their genes now (BHUTAN A KINGDOM BESEIZED by J.Y.Thinley 2008:2).
At the later part of his life, Zhabdrung bifurcated his absolute power creating two separate offices- one to look after spiritual and religious affairs to be known as ‘Dharma Raja’ and other to look after general administration of state revenue, expenditure and foreign affairs as ‘Deb Raja’ for better administration of Bhutan. Zhabdrung also appointed ‘Penlop’(provincial chief or Governor).
After the death of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, lineage of Dharma Raja started becoming weaker due to gap in administration during his death and re-incarnation. During such period, Deb Raja had to look after total administration including the office of the Dharma Raja. So Deb Raja’s lineage became more stable and acceptable to the people. However, later the Penlops working as provincial chiefs under the Deb Raja became more powerful and started ruling provinces under them independently. Such situation invited civil wars amongst Penlops for power supremacy. Ultimately, after many civil wars and much bloodshed, Tongsa Penlop Ugen Wangchuk emerged as the most powerful among them. Later in 1907, he became the first king of Bhutan with the help of British- India. Thus began the Wangchuk dynasty and the present king of Bhutan, Jigme Ghesar Namgyel Wangchuk is 5th in line of the dynasty.
Advent of Gorkhas/Nepalese:
As noted earlier, there was no restriction on immigrants to Bhutan, either from Bhot (Tibet) or from Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and even from the then small kingdoms (now in Nepal) in the west. So thousands of ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese and Lepchas had already migrated and settled beyond the left bank of river Jaldhaka in the west and to the western bank of river Dhansari (name given by ethnic Gorkhas in the east even before the signing of the treaty of Sinchula in 1865.
Many important British dignitaries like Esley Eden (1863), David Field Rennie (1864), Charles Bell (1904) , John Claude White (1905) and C. J Morris (1933) had noted only few huts of Gorkhas/Nepalese en route to Paro,Thimphu and Punakha on their mission.
Image number: S0003373 Image number: S0003444
Gurkha homestead – Dorkha, West Bhutan Terraced cultivation (Gurkha) at Denchuka, Bhutan
Image number: S0003389
Damai (Gurkha) band at Denchuka
Damai (Gurkha) band at Denchuka
Image number: S0003374 Image number: S0003372
Terraced cultivation (Gurkha) from Denchuka Terraced cultivation (Gurkha) at Denchuka
Terraced cultivation (Gurkha) from Denchuka Terraced cultivation (Gurkha) at Denchuka
But surely that does not give the total picture of settlement of ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese in southern Bhutan as they did not visit all parts of southern Bhutan which was not then open to foreigners and is restricted even now. While thousands of Gorkhas/Nepalese and Sikkimese had already immigrated and settled in the country, a number of families immigrated and settled in Bhutan afterwards with the permission of late Kazi Ugen Dorjee, grandfather of the first Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Paljor Dorjee in accordance with the kasho(edict) from Tongsa Penlop.
Seeing the settlement of Gorkhas in southern Bhutan, a rich man from Sikkim, Kazi Dalchan Gurung immigrated to Bhutan in mid 19th century and settled in Toribari (today’s Samchi) after obtaining kasho from Tongsa Penlop. He took land between the river Jadlhaka in the west and river Toorsa in the east on lease from Para Penlop on payment of Rs 9000/- (nine thousand) only either in cash or kind. Later, his son kazi Garjaman Gurung continued with the same agreement with Paro Penlop and the kind part of payment (loads containing different items) had to be carried by the citizens without payment on relay basis. I remember even my father had to once carry such load containing betel nuts up to Dorokha. Kazi Garjaman Gurung became very rich and powerful in southern Bhutan and built a fort-like building on top of Saureney in Samchi, the ruins of which can be seen even today. Later he was assassinated at Paro in a political coup. At present the grandson of Garjaman Gurung, Dasho Meghraj Gurung is still living in Thimphu after serving the government of Bhutan for a long period.
After the treaty of Sinchula on 11th November 1865 between the government of Bhutan and British-India, Bhutan occupied land between rivers Teesta in the west and Jaldhaka in the east along with the 18 Duars was ceded to British- India. It was mainly the people of those areas who were constantly ill treated by Bhuteas and the rulers and chose to remain under British- India. Even Charles Bell (1885-1910) found the Nepalese settled in the territory of Bhutan were ill treated by Bhutias ( BHUTAN AND BRITISH- Peter Collester 1987:140). During this period, the plain lands including Kalimpong of Bhutan was inhabited by one lakh fifty thousand Bhutanese of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity and one lakh Bhutanese of Koche-Mechi ethnicity. After the treaty of Sinchula, many of those became subjects of British- India. Some years later Tongsa Penlop Ugen Wangchuk (later the 1st king of Bhutan), Penlop Ugen Dorjee, Gelong Sheraf Dorjee, Kham Topden, Kazi Dalchan, Chhatre Thapa, Jeet Sing Aley motivated Bhutanese, who had already become subjects of British- India to migrate to the hilly area of Bhutan and promised them all facilities. But they didn’t migrate to Bhutan as offered as they were happy with the rule of British- India (DRUK LOSEL:24).
In 1887, another person, late Dhanbir Burathoki immigrated to Dzongsarpa area of south- west Bhutan after obtaining kasho of settling additional ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese in that area. This area was already occupied by Gorkhas who had settled there for centuries. After settling additional ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese at Dzongsarpa, late Dhanbir left for Chirang Bhutan.
Copy of the kasho (edict) and its translation into English is furnished below:-
Translation of the Kashog:
In response to the petition regarding new settlement of Gorkhali (Nepali) people in Dzongsharpa area of Bhutan Mr. Dhanbir is hereby appointed as Mandal to guide the settlers. The settlers shall obey his guidance and they shall settle within the Dzongsharpa area stipulated for them only. Besides the Nepalies brought under the notice of Mr. Dhanbir, no person, either the Bhutanese who have fled away and settled in Darjeeling or Mentshong (Lepcha) shall be allowed to settle within the Dzongsharpa area.
The people allowed to settle in Dzongsharpa area shall in no way, be debarred by anyone from their settlement within the stipulated area.
This Kashog is issued on 7th day of 11th month of Bhutanese Fire Bull Year.
At present, great- great grandson of late Dhanbir Burathoki, Mr Rituraj Chettry (Burathoki) is practicing as lawyer in Thimphu Bhutan and one great grandson of late Dhanbir, Mr Harka Bahadur Burathoki, is living as Bhutanese refugee in the camp in eastern Nepal.
In this context, I must mention that my own grandfather late Hajur Sing Rai worked as baidar (office assistance) to late Mondal Dhanbir Burathoki. And forefathers of my late grandfather had spent generations in Dube-Bara of Bhutan. Later, in the early 1950s my own two uncles Jangbir Rai and Ari Bahadur Rai along with their families also settled in Mechetar, Samchi, after obtaining permission of the then Dewan, late Jasraj Gurung, son of late kaji Garjaman Gurung. Thus Samchi was never occupied by any illegal immigrants as is often claimed by the government of Bhutan.
While such settlement was going on in the south-west of Bhutan, most part of the southern Bhutan still remained unoccupied by the high hill people (Bhuteas). Even in 1885-1910, John Claude White found that the high hill people (Bhuteas) dreaded of fever of lower hill. So the lower hills were not occupied by the high hill people (Bhuteas) but by the people of doubtful character either from Bhutan or defectors from British- India and they used to indulge in cattle rustling, robbery and do pretty much they liked. This was the main cause of border discord between government of Bhutan and British- India. So Penlop Ugen Wangchuk decided to settle Nepalese people in those areas under strict observation (BHUTAN AND THE BRITISH- Peter Collester 1987:155).
Ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese, Sikkimese and people of other ethnicity were earlier barred from settling in high hills occupied by Bhuteas but only in the lower hill which were left unoccupied by the high hill people for reasons mentioned. In the meantime, the high hill people (Bhuteas) were not receptive to people of other communities and that is why Bhutan remained isolated up to the mid 20th century. Foreign missions were not welcomed. Even the mission of Asley Eden (1838-1864) was held up by the refusal of Sikkimese and Nepalese coolies to go to Bhutan as they had noted the lack of warmth in reception by the high hill people (BHUTAN AND BRITISH- Peter Collester 1987:55).
Although the large number of Bhutanese of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity turned subjects of British- India after the treaty of Sinchula in 1865, even then there were 2.5 lakh (two lakh fifty thousand) Bhutanese of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity in Bhutan by 1901, according to a Gorkha League paper published by leader and journalist Thakurchand Singh from Dehradun, India ( DRUK LOSEL:11). So obviously people of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity had settled in Bhutan since a long time and the names of places and rivers, in fact, every place and river, carry Gorkhali/Nepali names bearing testimony to the historical fact of their settlement in the country. In the recent past, Drukpanisation of such names have been done at a rapid pace.
Thus Bhutan was purely running under theocratic system up to 1907 during which entry of famous lamas to Bhutan were recorded in the history of Bhutan but entry of ordinary Bhuteas from Tibet, Gorkhas from present day, Nepal and Sikkimese from Sikkim were never noted in the history of Bhutan. So we have to depend on the scanty history written by the foreign visitors who either had not visited or not allowed to visit southern Bhutan freely and completely. Those foreign writers noted few huts of ethnic Gorkhas/Nepalese in the southern Bhutan where only the huts as they saw en route to central Bhutan.
Some of the photos taken by Photographer C. J. Morris in 1933 also show the evidence of Gurkhas settlement in Tarai, Bhutan.
Image number: S0003440 Image number: S0003446
Gurkha homestead in Terai, Bhutan Sarbhang - Gurkhas in the foreground at
Gurkha homestead in Terai, Bhutan Sarbhang - Gurkhas in the foreground at
Image number: S0003441 Image number: S0003445
Terai, Bhutan Gurkha settlement - Terai, Bhutan
Terai, Bhutan Gurkha settlement - Terai, Bhutan
Image number: S0003371 Image number: S0003402
Limbu boy ploughing Limbu (Gurkha) cemetary in Terai
Limbu boy ploughing Limbu (Gurkha) cemetary in Terai
Although king system in Bhutan was established in 1907, the system of administration remains as that of medieval and theocratic for which people of Bhutan were not happy. In such difficult situations the people from southern Bhutan dared to form a political party called ” Jai Gorkha” under the leadership of late Saha Bir Rai and organized a mass protest demonstration at Dagapela, Bhutan in 1947 to address their grievance. This Party was brutally suppressed by the then regime with the help of India and kept high price on the head of late Saha Bir Rai. As the ruler still remain adamant, another party called “Bhutan state congress “ under the leadership of late Mahasur Chhetri from Chirang Bhutan was formed in 1952 to address the grievances. This party also was crushed down brutally by regime, killing number of party members in Sarbhang Bhutan and assassinating Late Mahasur Chhetri.
Because of the protest of those two political parties, the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk established National Assembly in 1953. In 1958, Bhutan passed its first citizenship Act and for the first time entire southern Bhutanese population of Gorkha community was granted full citizenship; domiciled in Bhutan on or before 31st December 1958 after the resolution of National Assembly of Bhutan. (Resolution No. 3, 11th Session, and Resolution No. 8, 11th Session 1958). But the Resolution tactically made its citizens of Gorkha community, alien; Nepalese (foreigner) the citizen of another country, Nepal. Nevertheless the census of the people of Bhutan was maintained by the Village Headman (Mandal) until 1968, only when the Ministry of Home Affair of Bhutan was established.
National Assembly of Bhutan, Resolution No. 3, 11th. Session, 1958
"It is resolved that henceforth Nepalese of Southern Bhutan should abide by the rules and regulations of the Royal Government and, pledging their allegiance to the King, should conscientiously refrain from serving another authority (such as Gorkha). They should submit a signed agreement to this effect to the Government. In addition, southern Bhutanese should themselves shoulder the responsibility of protecting the southern border''.
National Assembly of Bhutan, Resolution No. 8, 11th Session,1958
"There were two ethnic groups in the kingdom under the rule of His Majesty the King. Since Nepalese inhabiting southern Bhutan as bonafide citizens of this country have submitted bond agreements affirming their allegiance to the King and the country, the Assembly resolved that from this date Nepalese will enjoy equal rights in the National Assembly, and in the country, as other bon-fide citizens."
The king also introduced the 1st fifth year plan in 1961 in Bhutan with financial aid of India when a highway connecting Changkuna (today’s Phuntosholing) to Thimphu was constructed. All southern Bhutanese had to contribute compulsory labour. Ironically today more than one hundred thousand Bhutanese of Gorkha/Nepali ethnicity cannot travel on that road constructed by our fathers.
King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk is found to be really far sighted, modern, and visionary nation builder amongst the kings of Bhutan so far. He established the Royal Advisory Council in1965 and the Council of Ministers in 1968. He did not overlook the more important constitutional, political and economic aspects which are vital to the country’s well being. He introduced number of social reforms such as abolition of serfdom, placing a ceiling on land holdings and improving the position of women in society. During his reign, Bhutan opened up to the outside world casting its age-old policy of isolation. Planned development of the country began with the help of India and all Bhutanese people felt a sense of ‘ National Happiness’. Then in 1968, the Ministry of Home Affairs conducted nationwide census declaring its total population to be 1.2 million. In 1971 with the strong support of India, Bhutan became a member of United Nations when the total population of Bhutan was reflected to be 1.2 million.
After the death of then visionary 3rd king Jigme Dorjee Wangchuk, Bhutanese found Jigme Singye Wangchuk as their 4th king in 1974. He too, at the beginning, seemed to be following the path of his father. He granted kasho for citizenship to Late B.B. Kullung in 1975, but confiscate in 1990. Father William Mackey, Canadian Jesuit priest, who worked hard for Bhutan, mostly in education, and was declared by Bhutan the “Son of Bhutan” was not allowed to be buried in Bhutan when he died. His last rites were done in Darjeeling, India. Such deceptive promises of nation are really beyond belief.
BHUTAN COMPELS ITS CITIZENS TO BECOME REFUGEES
Habituated to live peacefully, the Bhutanese never knew what was breeding in the mind of the rulers since early eighties. So until early eighties the Bhutanese living a simple family life more like hermits were forcibly shaken out of their cloister by the government of Bhutan by implementing arbitrary census in 1988 that demanded land tax receipt of 1958 as a proof of being Bhutanese citizens. Failing to produce the land tax receipt of 1958 for various reasons meant that bona fide citizens were instantly declared non-nationals. Since the act was given a retroactive affect all children born in between the years 1958 and 1988 where the mother was non-Bhutanese were declared as illegal immigrants. That particular census of 1985 also categorized Bhutanese into seven categories even in a nucleus family placing them in different categories. Besides those, the government of Bhutan implemented discriminatory and suppressive policies upon its citizens mainly to affect the status of the Bhutanese citizens of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity and eastern Bhutanese of Sarchop ethnicity.
As those policies became more and more drastic, the southern Bhutanese were left with no option but to appeal to the government of Bhutan and organized mass peaceful rally in 1990 to respect Human Rights of Bhutanese citizens as enshrined in the UNO covenants. Similarly on October 23, 1997 eastern Bhutanese of Sarchop ethnicity too organized mass rally to demand equality to all the religions but was crushed down after killing a Buddhist monk, Gomtshen Karma.
Instead of considering the appeal of the citizens, the government of Bhutan choose military crackdown on its citizens of southern six districts and the traumas they went through during that period can be heard even now from the evicted Bhutanese in the camps in eastern Nepal and elsewhere. Immediately afterwards the government of Bhutan started evicting southern Bhutanese systematically on different pretext and branded them economic migrants, terrorists, disgruntled Bhutanese, anti-nationals and lately illegal immigrants. Even the family members and relatives of those who took part in peaceful rally were classified as non-nationals through the notification of then Home Minister Dago Tshering and were evicted mercilessly despite their plea that they be not evicted. The copy of the notification is produced below-
How fair is it? Earlier migrants simply by virtue of being in power labeling those who immigrated later and their descendants as ‘illegal immigrants’ is neither logical nor justifiable. That is only gross abuse of power. Even as recent as April 2011, Prime Minister of Bhutan during his visit to Nepal branded them among others as Indian citizens. It is their deliberate strategy to confuse the international community and prolong the issue until Bhutanese refugees get tired and opt for other options.
EVICTED BHUTANESE ENTERED NEPAL
After cruel eviction by the government of Bhutan, the bona fide Bhutanese were compelled to enter India as the first port of entry. But India did not want to host the evicted Bhutanese in India as it was fully supporting the government of Bhutan for eviction. The government directed security forces of Assam, Bengal (India), motivated, instigated even forcefully loaded Bhutanese evictees in trucks to enter Nepal. Thus evicted Bhutanese did not enter Nepal by their own choice but under compulsion. After entering Nepal and after our approach the government of Nepal for asylum, the government of Nepal was kind enough to grant us asylum on humanitarian grounds although Bhutan and its propaganda agents have for their own reasons claimed that Nepal has done so ethnic considerations.
In Nepal, with the involvement of senior Bhutanese refugees, systematized settlement in camps and camp administration was started. However, during the initial period Bhutanese refugees had to suffer a lot for lack of medicines, food supply, shelter etc. In the mean time, we senior refugees approached INGOs who ultimately came to assist Bhutanese refugees from early 1992 and now UNHCR, CARITAS, LWF and AMDA Nepal are continuing their assistance though on a reduced scale.
Since the people those entered Nepal after eviction from Bhutan were none other than bona fide Bhutanese with documentary evidences of their identity, the government of Nepal started negotiation on this issue. Of course, few people like late R.B.Gurung, former M.P whose kasho (edict) issued some centuries earlier was confiscated by the government before eviction.
At the beginning, the government of Bhutan flatly denied of any Bhutanese citizens living in the camps in eastern Nepal. Truth, however, stood and the international pressure piled on Bhutan. So the conspiring Bhutanese government agreed to hold bilateral talks on the Bhutanese refugee issue with the government of Nepal but without involving the third party that would expose the insincerity of Bhutan. So the bilateral talk was just a eyewash to lull the Bhutanese refugees, to mock the government of Nepal and to fool the international community. And Bhutan seems to be very successful in doing so at the cost of the nation and nationality of more than one hundred thousand of bona fide Bhutanese. After several rounds of bilateral talks, both the governments constituted a joint verification team comprising representatives from both the governments. Whilst a joint verification team was being formed, the government of Bhutan occupied itself in distributing the lands of the evictees to other Bhutanese from the north and east. No tyrant may ever have indulged in this sort of deception.
Ultimately, after thirteen years in 2003 the verification process began in Khudunabari, one of the camps in eastern Nepal. All Bhutanese refugees were happy with the hope of finally returning to their motherland, Bhutan, after verification. But the scheming government had other ideas. Surprisingly, through he process there were several instances in team from Bhutan which took domineering position and casually categorized Bhutanese refugees as they wished. For instance, Devi Maya Paudel, age 8 year, born in the Khudunabari Refugee camp, Sector-A, Hut No. 9, was categorized as criminal. Similarly another 18 months old Kiran Gautam was also placed in the same category. Even with the arbitrary standard adopted by the government of Bhutan, 74% of the refugees of the Khudunabari camp were verified to be bona fide Bhutanese by the Joint Verification team irrespective of the category they might have fallen in. Remainder 26% were declared to be non-Bhutanese by the verification team as they could not produce the documents which were confiscated or lost during military crack down on them in southern Bhutan during 1990.
Such injudicious verification naturally made many children of Bhutanese soil unhappy. Out of impulsive sentiment, one of the refugees pelted a pebble without intention of hitting anyone. And this instance was enough of a ruse for the team from the government of Bhutan looking for an escape to abandon the process and the team made mountain out of this mole hill. They hastily stopped verification process of other camps by blaming the government of Nepal for not providing them adequate security. Once again the government of Bhutan shamelessly betrayed its citizens in exile and humiliated the government of Nepal. And they made clear the intent of the rulers of our country, Bhutan.
To some extent advocacy for repatriation of Bhutanese refugees were done by UNHCR, the government of Nepal and International community, but without taking in confidence the Bhutanese refugee leaders. Here I must say the Bhutanese refugees were not considered as human beings with emotion and sentiments but rather as objects the price of which could be fixed by anyone at anytime. Their views were not regarded worthy of consideration. Similarly even the government of India who all along supported Bhutan on the issue from evicting, prolonging the issue, and not allowing the issue to be internationalized, is in the opinion of dividing Bhutanese and rule them forever.
The government of India is still maneuvering the Bhutanese refugee issue in favor of the autocratic democracy of Bhutan. Until the visit of then head of the UNHCR, Madam Sadako Ogata to Bhutan in December 2000, advocacy for repatriation was gaining positive ground when the king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk gave word to her that he would take back all the Bhutanese citizens living in the camps in eastern Nepal. But after she left the office of UNHCR, the organization took a complete U-turn, abandoned its own position on repatriation saying it will not promote repatriation and will be phasing out the camps slowly (BHUTANESE REFUGEES IN NEPAL-by Prof. Mahendra P Lama) putting indirect pressure on the refugees to opt for third country resettlement. It is definitely the influence of red carpet reception compounded with the propaganda of the cunning rulers of Bhutan.
Counter to Repatriation by Bhutan:
From the very beginning of this Bhutanese refugee problem, the government of Bhutan has spent a good part of its national budget just for inducement of influential leaders including the Indian security personals in the Indo-Bhutan border area. It was not enough to hush the cry of unjustly evicted Bhutanese citizens so the government of Bhutan moved further by buying sympathy of international journalists, diplomats, politicians and even organizing seminars and talk programs to propagate their point of view that the Bhutanese in the camps in eastern Nepal as illegal immigrants. But truth remains. While Bhutan aggressively working to prove exiled bona fide Bhutanese in the camps in eastern Nepal as illegal immigrants, the advocacy groups for repatriation of Bhutanese to Bhutan seem to have raised their hands up leaving their moral obligation aside. What was even more painful was that the government of Nepal and the international community were unable to pressure Bhutan to repatriate those refugees verified as bona fide Bhutanese by the Joint Verification team at Khudunabari refugee camp in 2003.
As for the refugee community, they have been reduced to mute spectator of their own doom. No initiative was taken by the government of Nepal to consult them during the negotiations and the refugee leadership was handicapped to carry out effective advocacy which they wanted to do in the absence of total lack of support and assistance from the host government and the many NGOs and INGOs, all of them ironically claim to work for the cause of the refugees.
Third country resettlement:
After tedious stay in the refugee camps, the third country resettlement program for Bhutanese looked attractive especially to young ones and to the ignorant Bhutanese who did not understand the value of nation and nationality. And unfortunately no attempt was made in this regard to educate them. Instead all attempts were directed at enticing the people to opt for third country resettlement. And this option meant basically the lure of a foreign land and some petty jobs but at what cost - the cost of their nation and nationality for which they had put everything in line ad braved the life of want and deprivation of a refugee camp since early 1990s. So it must be said that this program certainly did not give any justice to the Bhutanese who were awaiting repatriation with deep feelings about their nation and nationality.
Instead it divided the refugee community, and sadly even claimed some lives of innocent Bhutanese. Because of the strong and continuous campaigning, incentive and instigation through various sources for third country resettlement, it has further divided even the nucleus families in the camps causing tension, stress and in some cases leading to suicide in the families.
In this regard, many guardians of the families filed petition to authorities requesting not to allow family separation but the request went unheard. In a situation engineered in that fashion it is mostly the elderly who are directly or indirectly forced to opt for third country resettlement. Hence, third country resettlement program has become rather compulsory and not than voluntary.
No justice will be served unless the exiled Bhutanese are repatriated to their homestead with safety and dignity. Because of the guilty consciousness, the government of Bhutan has not dared to hold talks directly with the Bhutanese refugees but has expended much resources and energy extensively campaigning to spread the canard that the Bhutanese refugees are illegal immigrants. The evicted Bhutanese would have been repatriated to Bhutan long ago if Bhutan was sincere in its approach, and the international community, in particular the government of India had taken the initiative to pro-actively mediate in the dispute. At the cost of the nation, the rulers of Bhutan strongly backed by with the support and goodwill of the government of India is enjoying the luxury of talk and in the meanwhile carry out doing anything they please. If they are true nationalists, which I hope they are, they will see the truth soon and act to correct the historical wrong they have committed. The third country resettlement and local assimilation is aimed to support tyrant rulers of Bhutan and to murder the philosophy of human rights and true democracy in Bhutan. Hence, to see that truth triumphs, we call on the international community with their faith in truth and justice and all democratic forces including the INGOs and NGOs to support repatriation of all the evicted Bhutanese to Bhutan. We strongly feel that this is the moral responsibility of all civilized nations and rational individuals.
Position of India:
There are ample of evidences to prove India’s constant apathy towards the Bhutanese Refugee problems as demonstrated by liberally driving away and instigated the mass evicted bona-fide Bhutanese to enter Nepal instead of providing asylum as the first port of entry: complete absence of Indian participation in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal even on humanitarian ground: arrest and imprisonment of the Bhutanese refugees going back to Bhutan under the banner of “Cycle Rally” by Bhutan National Democratic Party (BNDP), Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) and Forum for Human Rights of Bhutan (PFHRB) in 1996; Appeal Movement Co-ordinating Council (AMCC) in 1996; Return to Bhutan for reconciliation by “Bhutan Gorkha National Liberation Front” (BGNLF) in 1996, 1998 & 2000; Repatriation of Bhutanese refugees by BNDP; and Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee (BRRRC) in 2005; and Repatriation of Bhutanese Refugees by Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee (BMSC) in 2007
If the government of Nepal cannot negotiate its internal political contradictions soon, it is possible; indications are there already, that UNHCR, the government of Bhutan, government of India and even the international community push the government of Nepal to assimilate the remaining refugees in Nepal. By doing so, however, will the agencies who have supported the refugees under difficult conditions for so long and the international community have done justice to the exiled Bhutanese awaiting repatriation for 20 years? Will not such an approach encourage tyrant ruler of Bhutan to evict more Bhutanese of Gorkhas/Nepalese ethnicity by adopting different mechanisms? Will it really help solve the problem in a lasting and durable manner? We say no, and we believe that lasting and durable solution can only be achieved through the repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees to Bhutan in safety and dignity.
We hope Nepal will soon find a constitutional solution to its entire problem. It will then have to take a principled stand and aggressively pursue the course to repatriate Bhutanese refugees to Bhutan. And if in this process it has to internationalize the issue, it must not hesitate to do so for its own national honour and for he larger good of the Bhutanese refugees.
APPEAL FROM B.R.R.R.C
The Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee is the only refugee body constituted by the refugee community under the adult franchise system. Its only objective has been to repatriate all exiled bona fide Bhutanese to their homestead in Bhutan. I must categorically state here that the BRRRC does not support repatriation of any illegal immigrant residing in the camps who are not Bhutanese citizens as falsely claimed by the government of Bhutan. The BRRRC sincerely appeals to the international community to help our repatriation to Bhutan. Do you not believe we have a right to return to our own country? In the mean time, the BRRRC also takes this opportunity to appeal to all patriotic Bhutanese, within and outside the country, not to let our motherland, Bhutan and its people suffer silently.
Dr. Bhampa Rai,