government reacted with more force after the peaceful protest
demonstrations. A fresh wave of crackdowns was perpetrated
by the government. All people who participated in the peaceful
demonstrations were immediately reprimanded, civil servants
were terminated without any payment of pension benefits and
other benefits and most of the participants were imprisoned.
arrest, degrading treatment, loot, plunder, rape of innocent
women and burning down of their houses had become the order
of the day. The security forces indiscriminately arres ted,
tortured and imprisoned innocent villagers. Entire villages
were razed to the ground by the government security forces.
Many were killed in police custody under torture. The government
of Bhutan had confiscated citizenship and property documents
and also forced many of the Nepali-speaking Lhotshampas to
sign papers renouncing Bhutanese citizenship.
all schools, hospitals, postal and telecommunications services
were closed to the southern Bhutanese as a form of mass punishment
for having participated in the demonstrations. All seventy
six schools in southern Bhutan were closed. The school buildings
were converted into army barracks and detention centres. Health
and medical services were withdrawn from southern Bhutan.
Trade licences of southern Bhutanese were withdrawn forcing
most of the shops to be closed. Essential commodities such
as salt and cooking oil were strictly controlled. There existed
a total freeze on their movement in southern districts, at
one time. The schools are still remain closed in southern
entire southern belt of Bhutan was declared as a 'Disturbed'
area and undeclared martial law was imposed. The government
officially promulgated that no development activities shall
be undertaken in southern Bhutan and the resources allocated
for southern Bhutan were diverted to northern Bhutan and to
the upkeep of the security forces and the training of 'militia',
the conscripted volunteers from the east and northern Bhutan.
plight of Lhotshampa women in southern Bhutan was most inhuman,
immediately after the peaceful rallies. Most of the male members
had fled the country for fear of persecution by the government
security forces. The villages in the southern Bhutan were
left only with women and children. Most female members in
the village were subjected to rape and some were tortured
to death in custody. More than 60 % of the victims of violence
confirmed rape. Women face special problems as survivors of
rape and torture. For Hindu women of southern Bhutan, who
are raped, trauma could be compounded with great shame and
stigmatisation. Some women were rejected by husbands and families.
Many had to deal with pregnancies and children resulting from
rapes. As a result of humiliation, rape and torture, many
suffer from psychological disturbances, such as night mares,
sleeplessness, flash backs, depressions and anxiety. Many
children are orphans and some had witnessed the murder, torture
and rape of their parents.
such circumstances the Lhotshampas had no option but to flee
the country and take asylum in neighbouring India and Nepal.
They were forced to leave the country to evade mass arrests
and torture in the police custody. Many families had to leave
Bhutan to save the honour of their women folks from the brutality
of security forces.
Please click on
NOC/PCC/SCC for continuity of the events
leading to exodus of Lhotshampas