17 August, 1990 the Home Minster Dago Tshering issued a
notification addressed to the Dzongdas (Chief District Officers)
of six districts in southern Bhutan stating that " It
has come to the government's notice that a large number of
Southern Bhutanese people have left the country to join forces
with the Ngolops (government declared the dissidents as Ngolops
meaning anti-national). You are hereby instructed to immediately
inform all the Gups (Village headmen), DYT (District development
Committee) members and the general public in your dzonkhag
(district) that any Bhutanese national leaving the country
to assist and help the anti-nationals shall no longer be considered
as a Bhutanese citizen. It must also be made very clear that
such people's family living under the same household will
also be held fully responsible and forfeit their citizenship".
As a result of this government notification, more than 120,000
Lhotshampas were systematically evicted. This notification
is the living testimony and evidence that the Lhotshampas
were forcefully evicted.
army, militia and the police were mobilised under him to forcefully
evict the Lhotshampas. The citizenship cards of many fleeing
Lhotshampas were confiscated by the government officials,
though majority of them possess other documentary evidence
of their origin to Bhutan. Amnesty International, London in
its report clearly establishes that " under 1985 Citizenship
Act, tens of thousands were declared to be illegal and forcibly
evicted from Bhutan. Others fled in the face of officially
sanctioned pressures.. arbitrary arrests, beating, rape, robberies
and other forms of intimidation by police and army."
government ordered demolishing and burning down of Lhotshampas'
houses. Bhutan's barbaric act could not be more different
from Yugoslavian president Slodoban Milosevich or Chile's
ex-president Augusto Pinochet's acts.
In its report, 'Bhutan : Forcible Exile' published in August,
1994, Amnesty International believes that many people in the
(refugee) camps in Nepal have been forced out of Bhutan as
a result of measures taken by the Bhutanese authorities. Even
the high level investigation team constituted by the king
to look into the allegations of force eviction led by Home
Minister, Dago Tshering reported that senior government officials
in Chirang District intimidated two families to forced eviction.
racial discrimination including rape, torture, indiscriminate
arrests, custodial deaths and eviction of Lhotshampas began
after the peaceful protests against the forceful assimilation
policies of 1985 and is continuing till today. According to
the report of International Movement Against Discrimination
And Racism, Japan, "A confidential survey carried out
by a consultant to an international refugee agency found that
most torture took place in 1990 and 1991, following the increase
in demonstrations in September, 1990. Following the peaceful
protests, demonstrators and members of their families were
violently punished for their direct or indirect involvement
in the protests. According to the study, repression in the
form of rape did not abate until 1993".
government planned a number of strategy to forcefully evict
the Lhotshampas from Southern Bhutan. Firstly, through government
created reign of terror. The state empowered the security
forces to deal with the dissidents and their sympathisers.
Mass arrests of innocent villagers, torture and death in police
custody, rape, loot, plunder, threat to life of Lhotshampas
by the security forces compelled the innocent Lhotshampa folks
to flee Bhutan. Many families had to leave Bhutan to save
the honour of their women folks from the brutality of security
forces. The government conducted frequent population census
of southern Bhutan to assess the targeted numbers of those
strategy was to seek a legislative mandate from the Drukpa
dominated National Assembly to evict everyone related to or
associated with the on-going peaceful human rights and democratic
movement along with entire family, even though many of the
family members did not participate in the peaceful demonstrations.
the security forces verbally threatened the Lhotshampa villagers
either to leave the country by selling their properties or
face the threat of imprisonment, death and continued harassment
and humiliation. The fear-ridden folks had no choice but to
sell their properties at throw-away prices to the government
officers, their relatives and other Drukpas and apply for
out-migration from the country. Their photographs and video
films were taken as a proof of their being voluntary migrating.
The government has classified them as 'voluntary migrants'.
More than fifty percent of refugee camps inmates do fall in
this category. Hence, the government's insistence on classifying
them as 'voluntary migrants' not entitled to return, even
if the refugee problem is resolved. Migrants are not entitled
to return the country as per the existing laws of Bhutan.
OF CIVIL SERVANTS
Bhutan stepped out of her isolation late in sixties. Because
of low rate of literacy, lack of information and
communications with outside world (due to absence of frequent
exchange of ideas, and television etc.), absence of freedom of
expression, press and publications, it was only natural that
majority of Bhutanese, by and large remained under-informed.
There is not private intelligentsia in Bhutan. Most of the
students who studied in
Indian schools and colleges under the Government of India
scholarship were all employed in the government services. So,
the government bureaucracy was and still is the most dominant
intelligentsia in Bhutan.
Nath Rizal was a civil servant. The Nepali-speaking officials
in the civil services drafted the petition submitted to the
king by Mr. Rizal. Even the protest demonstration and human
rights rallies were organised in southern Bhutan by the former
civil servants of Bhutan. Mr. R. K. Budathoki, the President
of Bhutan People Party which organised the demonstrations in
September-October, 1990 was a former Assistant Director in the
Department of Revenue and Customs
May 1991, six top bureaucrats resigned from their civil service
posts in protest against the abuses of human rights by the
government and defected to Nepal. They were Bhim Subba, the
then newly promoted Director General of Power Department,
R. B. Basnet, Managing Director of State Trading Corporation
of Bhutan, Rakesh Chhetri, Assistant Managing Director of
State Trading Corporation of Bhutan, D. P. Basnet, Joint Director,
Department of Trade and Commerce, Mandhoj Tamang, Deputy Director
of Planning Commission and Mrs. Usha Tamang, Assistant Director
of Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan defected to Nepal and
applied for political asylum in Nepal, which was granted by
the Government of Nepal. They are now in the leadership of
the movement. Rakesh Chhetri and Bhim Subba head two human
rights organisations, CEMARD and HUROB, respectively, while
R. B. Basnet is the President of Bhutan National Democratic
Party After their defection, other bureaucrats followed.
Please click on
to view it
the government of Bhutan read the writing on the walls and
taken a rational approach to settle and diffuse the political
problems, instead of declaring its citizens of southern districts
as 'illegal immigrants' and 'anti-national' for opposing the
violation of their fundamental human rights, i.e., the right
to nationality, even with hindsight,. the peace and tranquillity
of the country would have never been disturbed. This problem
of small dimension has now engulfed the entire country and
has taken the shape of present form of movement. The government
itself is to blame for creating the problems.
expulsion started in 1991 when the government resorted to
forced evictions intimidating the innocent villagers into
signing "voluntary migration forms" under torture
and threat of life imprisonment. Now the majority of the refugees
in the camps in Nepal fall under this category.
Please click on Myth
of Voluntary Migration
continuity of the events.