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Druk National Congress of Bhutan





Dzongkha Edition

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NO. 5
September - November, 2011
Druk National Congress - Political Organization of Bhutan

Rongthong Kunley Dorji Passes away

Sikkim: Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji, founding President of the Druk National Congress, widely respected as a visionary freedom fighter and statesman, passed away on 19th October, 2011 at the age of 73.

Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji was born to Pema Tshewang (Dasho Khotsa) and Aum Chador Lhamo in 1939 at Wangdi Choling, Bumthang. At the age of five, he was admitted to a traditional educational institute in Bhutan. From the age of 14 he was engaged in business and travelled several times to Tibet.
He voluntarily joined the Army when Bhutan in the wake of the Indo-China war in 1962 mobilized the militia. He was attache to Col. Penjor Ongdi as a head clerk. He was responsible for writing down the Army Code in Dzongkha, which is still in use. On 14th April, 1973, he and Brigadier Tangbi were inducted to a covert group constituted by the King’s uncle, Dasho Rimp (Ugyen Dorji) to support the Monarchy and the country. For 16 years, he extended his service to the Monarchy with sincerity and dedication.

He was involved in many business activities from handloom to construction. He was also engaged in the hospitality business. Apart from the businesses he ran, in the early 1980s, his successful bid in an auction to mine coal in Eastern Bhutan led him to start the Bhutan Coal Mining Corporation. He rose to become one of the most prominent businessmen in Eastern Bhutan. He helped people of every ethnicity and solved their problems. Because of his kindness, affable character and humble disposition, he was popular with every community. The Indian community in the border region and the Lhotshampa community of Bhutan popularly addressed him as “Babu Kunley”. The Sharchop community called him “Ata Kunley” and the Naglong community called him, “Au Kunley”.

He was arrested in Bhutan in May 18, 1991, on charges of allegedly being involved in the Lhotshampa uprising. He was imprisoned without trail or due process of law and tortured in custody. He was released on July 5 after being made to sign a royal pardon agreement. To avoid imminent re-arrest and subsequent death, he fled Bhutan and reached Nepal on August 3, 1991.

On 16th June, 1994, he along with his friends and supporters established Druk National Congress, a political party demanding the establishment of democracy and fundamental human rights in Bhutan under constitutional monarchy. Within 3 months, the king’s emissary, the then police Chief Tandin Dorji (Dorji’s brother-in-law) and associates brought the king’s order that he should return to Bhutan. He rejected the offer because the King wanted to buy his silence rather than initiate democratic process. On his return, Police Chief Tandin was imprisoned for 3 years for failing to persuade him to return to Bhutan.

He wrote a book, “THE NAKED DANCE OF BHUTAN” in Dzongkha in 1995 and had addressed it to the Member of National Assembly and had it dispatched to them. Over thousands copies were distributed throughout Bhutan. The book highlights the incidents, policies and acts committed by the undemocratic government and entails why democracy is best for the country. He brought out many publications. A poster demanding the institution of democracy and human rights in Bhutan was carried out throughout Bhutan in the same year.

From 1995 onwards, the National Assembly of Bhutan (rubber stamp of king) demanded his extradition from Nepal and allegation of loan defaults was labeled against him.

On 11 October, 1996, a United Front for Democracy, a coalition of three political parties namely, Druk National Congress, Bhutan Peoples’ Party and Bhutan National Democratic Party was formed. He was unanimously elected to lead the Front. He had traveled to New Delhi, India and also most of the European countries like Denmark, England and Netherlands to garner support for establishment of democracy in Bhutan. On April 18, 1997, he again visited New Delhi but this time he was arrested by the Government of India (GOI) at the behest of Royal Government of Bhutan. His party members with the help of Bhutan Solidarity (India) under the leadership of Anand Swroop Verma and Dr. Arun Kumar Singh immediately filed a habeas corpus writ petition in Delhi High Court. The timely intervention by the Delhi High court prevented the deportation. However, GOI initiated extradition proceedings against him and on the 2nd of July 1997, he was sent to Tihar Jail under Judicial Custody.

Mr. George Fernandes, former Defence Minister remarked his arrest, “That India should take this obnoxious step on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of Independence is the blackest spot on its history of these 50 years. It is a disgraceful act wholly unbecoming of a nation that prides in calling itself the world’s largest democracy”.

The night vigil demanding the release of Mr. Dorji was held outside Tihar jail, on night of 14-15th August with the participation of civil liberty groups, trade union leaders, writers, artist, youth and ordinary citizens. Over fifty Indian Parliamentarians boycotted the special parliament session held to mark the 50th year of India’s Independence and instead took part in night vigil outside Tihar Jail.

He was released on bail on July 14, 1998 with the stringent bail conditions. He had to report to local police station twice a week and was not allowed to venture out of Delhi jurisdiction. The case dragged on for 12 long years. On 21st April, 2010, the GOI finally withdrew the extradition case against him apparently after consulting the Royal government of Bhutan.

In December 17, 1999, he along with prominent Indians founded Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society (IBFS). The IBFS was established to strengthen Indo-Bhutan friendly ties at people-to-people level. The society also raised the case of democracy and Bhutanese refugee repatriation before both countries.

On 25th November, 2004, Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s visits India. (First Since Mr. Dorji’s arrest in New Delhi). Dasho Pema Wangchen, King’s Secretary met Mr. Dorji at the latter’s residence at New Delhi. He tried hard to persuade Mr.Dorji to return to Bhutan. They had a wide range of discussions including the issues of Bhutanese refugees and democracy. A few months later, a precondition for return was submitted. King didn’t accede to his demands. Current state of democracy and the subsequent formation of Government after the General election of 2008 answered why King couldn’t accept Mr. Dorji’s conditions in the first place.

After gaining his freedom in 2010, he reached Kathmandu, on August 6, 2010. In Kathmandu, he met Mr. Teknath Rizal, the Chairman of People Forum for Human Rights in Bhutan, Mr. Balaram Poudel, President of the Bhutan Peoples’ Party and Dr. D.N.S. Dhakal, Acting Chief Executive of the Bhutan National Democratic Party. During the course of discussions, they stressed on the need for a new alliance amongst exile Bhutanese to pursue national reconciliation, inclusive democracy and the repatriation of exiled Bhutanese. On 26th August, 2010, a joint press release was issued with five points and Mr. Dorji was entrusted to lead the unified democratic movement. The already existing DNC office was upgraded by him. He shared his time in Katmandu and New Delhi to pursue the goals of alliance. During his brief stay at Kathmandu, he met Nepalese political leaders including former Prime Ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prachanda, Jhalanath Khanal and Deputy Prime Ministers Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Upendra Yadav.

On August 4, 2011, he left Kathmandu for New Delhi. While working, he became seriously ill and was admitted to Manipal Institute of Medical Science, Gangtok, Sikkim. On 19th October, 2011 at 11 p.m, he passed away. His mortal remains were cremated at Dechenling cremation ground on 23rd October in Sikkim.

At the untimely demise of Mr. Dorji, Mr. Teknath Rizal, pioneer human rights activist remarked, “I lost a brotherly figure and Bhutanese community and Bhutan nation lost a great son of its soil”.

The sincere heartfelt condolences shown by the Bhutanese people inside and in exile to untimely demise of Mr. Dorji, reflects the respect the people had for him.

His immense contribution towards the establishment of constitutional democracy in Bhutan will always remain in the hearts of Bhutanese people.

In his last article to Bhutan Today he wrote, “Democracy, in whatever its form, has finally come to Bhutan. It is the responsibility of all Bhutanese to strengthen this democracy and take it forward. My conviction and spirit hasn’t decreased, but with advancing age, my strength has decreased, which is but natural. And there will come a time when, for the betterment of the party, and in accordance with the times, but with common vision, old party office bearers will move on and the new will fill their place - which too is natural”.

Mr. Dorji stood tall and Prominent among a generation of Bhutanese freedom fighters fighting for the cause of democracy in Bhutan. His contribution changed the course of political history of Bhutan forever.

Leaders paid their tributes to Mr. Dorji

Exile leaders in person or through messages paid their tribute to Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji.

Dr. Bhumpa Rai, Chairman, Bhutanese Refugee representatives Repatriation Committee, Mr. S.B.Suba, Chairman, Human Rights Organization of Bhutan and Harka Jung Suba, Santa Bir Ghallay, and Dhan Bahadur Adhikari belonging to Elders groups reached Sikkim and offered their last respect to mortal remains of Mr. Dorji.

Former party members and now belonging to the Druk National Congress (Democratic) members led by Gup Khila, Rinzin Dorji, Lama Jigme Jamtsho and Kunzang Dorji also arrived at Sikkim and paid their tributes. In their condolence letter, it reads, “A pioneer and principle person working towards the establishment of democracy and human rights in Bhutan has disappeared among us like rainbow’s disappearance in the sky, it is a great loss to people and democrats in and outside Bhutan”.

BRRRC writes on the condolence letter, "Once becoming a free man, without caring for his health, he became active in pursuing movement with more enthusiasm and vigor and consolidated the political parties and was working to boost movement undeterred by resettlement of refugees by core countries"
S.B.Suba writes, “ He(Dorji) was a dreaded challenger of the royal government who stood for principle and was well known personality in all level of Bhutanese society, especially in the Sarchops and Lhotsampas community”

Bhutan National Democratic Party writes "On his demise the Bhutanese democratic movement lost a charismatic leader whose absence will be felt deeply by the freedom loving people of Bhutan both in exile and inside the country".

Bhutan People's Party says, the untimely death of well respected leader has created an irreparable loss to the Bhutanese political movements and added not only Bhutanese in exile but whole country will remember Mr Dorji's contribution".

Mr. Shyam Gambhir, General Secretary of Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society expressed the heartfelt condolences on behalf of society. He says, “We are shocked to hear the untimely demise of Shri Dorji. We pray for the peace of departed soul”.

Mr. Satya Prakash Malaviya, former President of Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society also expressed heartfelt condolences.

Mr. Anand Swroop Verma, Shelindra Singh Arora and Dr. Sunil Lam, president of Bhutan Solidarity group expressed their heartfelt condolences at the untimely demise of Mr. Dorji.

N.B. Khatiwada, former MLA of Sikkim and Executive Committee members of Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society was present at cremation. He expressed his condolence and remarked, “the struggle of freedom must continue”.

King marries Jetsun Pema

The Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, 31 married bride, Jetsun Pema, 21 at Punakha with lavish ceremony on October 13, 2011. The central monastic body and Je Khenpo conducted the ceremony of Royal Wedding.

In June, King announced the parliament his intention to marry and reveled his bride name at the same day. The picture of him with his bride was officially released by the royal media center

The Druk National Congress congratulated the King and Queen and wished them successful married life.


Kathmandu: The Druk National Congress expressed deep sorrow on the sad passing away of Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji, who was the founding president of the party. The party lighted 5000 butter lamps in several Buddhist Monasteries in Nepal and offered prayers and prayed for the peace of his pious soul.

Mr. Kesang Lhendup, Vice-President of the Druk National Congress remarked that the Druk National Congress and Bhutanese community had lost its guardian in his death. His immense contribution towards the establishment of constitutional democracy in Bhutan will always remain in the hearts of Bhutanese people.

The Druk National Congress prays for the peace of the departed pious soul and shared the grief of the members of the family of the bereaved.

Condolence meeting on Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji organized

Kathmandu: The Condolence meeting on untimely death of Mr. Rongthong Kunley Dorji, Founding President of Druk National Congress was organized by Druk National Congress, Bhutan on 5th November at Kathmandu. Well-wishers and party members gathered to express their heartfelt condolences. Buddhist prayers and one minute silence was observed before the start of the programme.

Excerpts of the Speakers:

Arjun Thapa, Head of Foreign Affairs, Madesh Janadhikar Forum: My heartfelt condolences to Mr. RK.Dorji’s family members. I met Mr. Dorji several times and had attended the conference on Bhutanese issues at JNU, New Delhi. I salute the spirit of Mr. Dorji’s unwavering stand on democracy and human rights in Bhutan. The Nepal government must stress for the repatriation of refugees. The lingering issues of Bhutanese question owe due to diplomatic failure of Nepalese government.

Sarba Raj Kharka, Director, SAAPE: Mr. Dorji’s contribution towards democracy and human rights in Bhutan would be remembered by the history. SAAPE periodically holds the meeting on Bhutanese issues in our attempt to contribute in solving the problems.

Dr. D.N S. Dhakal, Executive Chief, Bhutan National Democratic Party: The death of Mr. Dorji is big blow to Bhutanese democratic struggle. Mr. Dorji used to tell me that if Bhutan want to prosper as a nation, to move ahead, the regime must take all sections of society together. At Delhi, he told me that Democracy must come and take deep roots in Bhutan. Bhutan doesn’t belong to few people based at Thimphu. Bhutan belongs to all of us. We know the truth of southern people. Day will come to take your rightful place. I believe he was arrested in 1991 because he along with some members of royal family was trying to find just solution to Lhotshampa issue.

Hira Lal Shershtha, Former Ambassador: I expressed my heartfelt condolence to Mr Dorji’s family members and party members. The death of Mr. Dorji, the first rank leadership has come to end. The second generation leaderships have heavy responsibility on their vulnerable shoulder. I urge the second generation leadership must be broadminded and must unite to pursue the common goals. The best tribute that people could give to great Mr. Dorji would be to continue his work and materialized his dreams for genuine democracy and human rights in Bhutan.

Pramond Kafley, Chairman, GRINSO: I regret the attitude of Republic Nepalese Government. The travel document was issued to Mr. Dorji by constitutional monarchy government of 1990s before he was arrested in India in 1997. But the Republic Government of Nepal didn’t issue the travel documents to him when he returned to Nepal from India in 2010. The travel journey by buses took heavy toll to his frail body. In January, he survived the near death accident. I think the illness he underwent before passing away must have been aggravated or born during an accident. The Nepal government must provide travel documents to Bhutanese political leaders. Mr. Dorji revealed his persona that age is not a factor to learn the experiences from other successful contemporaries the case being Mr. Dorji meeting Mr. Prachanda, Maoist Chairman in person to learn the experiences of latter.

Balaram Poudyal, President, Bhutan People’s Party : Mr. Dorji’s death is huge loss to the Bhutanese democratic movement. The first generation leadership of three principal political parties has come to end with the death of Mr. Dorji. Mr. R.K.Burathoki, president of Bhutan People’s Party was murdered on 9th September, 2001.Mr. R.B. Basnet, President of Bhutan’s National Democratic Party passed away on 18th August, 2007. The second generation must unite and complete the task initiated by the first generation leadership. Nepal Government must approach the India for tripartite talks to start the repatriation of refugees.

Kesang Lhendup, Vice President, Druk National Congress: I thank all the speakers for their kind presence and their continued expression of solidarity and support to cause of Bhutanese democratic aspiration.

Late Dorji’s Buddhist adieu

Late Rongthong Kunley Dorji had sent personal letters addressed to Their Majesties, the Kings and Queens; The Hon’ble Prime Minister; The Council of Ministers; Members of Parliament; and the People of Bhutan wishing them good fortune and forgave all who had wronged him hence displaying his Buddhist upbringing and practices.

He thanked his good karma for enabling him to have contributed in ushering Bhutan from an absolute Monarchy, to a Constitutional Democracy under Constitutional Monarchy for the benefit of all the people of Bhutan. He also thanked all the Bhutanese people, inside and outside Bhutan, who have extended their support and goodwill to him.

He wrote, “Thus, with my body, speech and mind, and as far as my mortal human capacities allow me to, I hereby forgive all those who have wronged me, all those who have conspired together with those who have wronged me, all those who were forced to collaborate with those who have wronged me, and all those who have, by way of ignorance or otherwise, desired ill-will towards me”

“To my country and my people, I pray: may all the Gods, Goddesses, Guardians and Protectors, and all Those of cosmic lineage who command co-incidence, always guide and protect you; may your negative karma, and your outer, inner and secret obstacles, be pacified and cleared; may your positive karma, and your positive aspirations and actions, consequence glorious merit; may the times ahead bring you good fortune, prosperity, happiness and peace, and may all be auspicious for you.”

OBITUARY: Rongthong Kunley Dorji, a visionary freedom fighter and statesman

by S.B.Suba*

Late Rongthong Kunley Dorji, eldest son of Dasho Pema Tshewang (Dasho Khotsa) and Aum Chador Lhamo was born on 7th January 1939 in Wangdicholing, Bumthang. He chose business as his career and started at early age of 14 and was successful and gained prominence and his name resonated in whole of Bhutan earning even Royal recognition in person. Though a prosperous businessman in Samdrup Jongkhar, eastern Bhutan, he never attached importance to business above the security of the country. He voluntarily joined Militia in outbreak of Indo-china war in 1962. He never neglected the duty of serving the King even in his private domain. He was part of the ad-hoc group constituted on 14th April 1973 by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk’s uncle Ugyen Dorji to protect the king for 16 years without any favor or honour.

Some jealous people alleged him of colluding with the Nepali speaking southern Bhutanese (Lhotsampas) in 1990, agitating for Democracy, Human rights and rule of law when they were arbitrarily deprived of nationality and citizenship. No doubt he was a man of democratic principle and believed in equal justice and human rights with no racial prejudice. The Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk instead of verifying the veracity of the fabricated allegations and reflecting the past good deeds of the Rongthong Kunley Dorji, ordered the Royal Bhutan Army to arrest him and bring to Thimphu to be interrogated by the Royal Body guard (RBG). He was arrested on 18th May 1991 and taken to Thimphu and was interrogated by Royal Body Guard Major Sangay Thinley and businessman and former Royal Chamberlain Gup Sonam Dukpa on order of the monarch. After 50 days of continuous inhuman tortures and not able to substantiate allegations with facts was released on signing conditions that he would not commit treason against the king, country and the government and on surety of his brother (pema wangdi) who was the then Director in home ministry. Apprehensive of re-arrest, persecution and tortures, he fled Bhutan on 5th July 1991 and after brief treatment in Guwahati, Assam, arrived in Kathmandu on 3rd August 1991. He stayed in Kathmandu recuperating his health till he formed Druk National Congress (DNC) on 16th June 1994 and plunged into active political struggle for Democracy and Human Rights in Bhutan. The king had sent the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) chief Tandin Dorji, who happened to be Mr Dorji’s brother -in-law with a friend to persuade him to return to Bhutan. He refused to accept the offer and on return the police chief was imprisoned for three years for his failure to bring back Mr. Dorji. Late Rongthong Kunley Dorji never looked back and spearheaded the Bhutanese movement for democracy and human rights with determination and aspirations. He visited Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and England to campaign and advocate establishment of democracy in Bhutan and human rights violation.

On 11th October 1996, he was unanimously chosen the chairman of United Democratic Front (UFD) by other political parties, Bhutan National Democratic Party (BNDP) and Bhutan Peoples Party (BPP) to steer the democratic movement. The leadership for democratic movement was heavily weighing on him after the formation of UFD and in order to campaign and lobby the government of India, parliamentarians, political leaders, human rights activists and civil societies, he arrived in Delhi with high hope of garnering support and solidarity as India is the largest democracy in the world and espouse democracy and Human rights. The Royal Government of Bhutan dreaded him and his challenge for establishment of democracy and to bring down the Wangchuk dynasty’s absolute rule and the government of India was persuaded to arrest and extradite him. The royal government of Bhutan sent the then Home minister Dago Tshering with the country’s only air craft-DRUK AIR to Delhi to extradite him. On the behest of Bhutanese Government, on fabricated and malicious charges, the government of India arrested him in April 18, 1997 in Delhi with the intention of deporting him but was aborted by timely intervention of human rights activists, social workers and advocates and after three days of waiting, Dago Tshering had to return to Bhutan with empty DRUK AIR in disappointment. However, he was incarcerated by the government of India in Tihar jail until his release on bail on June 12, 1998. The case lingered and Mr. Dorji had to report to the local police station twice a week and could not move out of Delhi till the case was finally dismissed on 21st April 2010 by Delhi High court on the failure of Bhutan government to provide concrete proofs of its allegations. Without caring for his physical constitution, the spirit of gearing forward the democracy and human rights movement was always his priority. Before, his death, he consolidated all the political parties and was mustering to give impetus to the slowing movement coupled by third country resettlement of the Bhutanese refugees by the core countries like USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway.

Mr. Ronthong Kunley Dorji, the unifying democratic figure is no more with us. He breath his last on 19rd October 2011 in Manipal Institute of Medical Science in Sikkim, leaving behind only memories of his sacrifice and contribution in ushering democracy in Bhutan, of his role as the leader of Bhutanese people and as husband, father and grandfather to his family.

Nobody thought that the nature would be so unkind to wrest him away so soon and create void in the Bhutanese movement for Democracy and Human Rights. Albeit, the nature chose it and we all have to agree to the golden rule as however one wishes to hold back will have to relent against the inevitable law of nature. Though at times two of us would come to loggerhead and miffed on some differences of opinion, of course not without reasons, yet would reconcile in no time as in politics “there is no permanent foe or friend”. I always looked upon him as father figure and rich with knowledge of Bhutan history, religion, culture and inside of the royal families. His courage to expose inside of the royal families and their misdemeanors is going to etch in my memory forever. His frank expression of disfavor of expansive royalties costing the nation’s coffer and aspirations to establish democracy “of the people, by the people and for the people” is rare courage and bravery of a leadership. He was a dreaded challenger of the royal government who stood for principle and was well known personality in all level of Bhutanese society, especially in the Sharchops and Lhotsampas community. For openly standing by the side of the Lhotsampas and injustice meted out in 1990, he had to bear the brunt of inhuman tortures. Since then he was physically emaciated besides long standing diabetes affected him to final breath. The dread was so much that even he was not spared after leaving the country in fear to escape further persecution.

What else can we do to redeem his sacrifice, sufferings and contribution to the greater cause of Democracy and human rights other than our tribute and prayers for his soul to rest in peace in heavenly paradise? Let us all join in prayers to the departed soul to rest in eternal peace and to the gracious God to bestow courage, strength and power to the bereaved family members and relatives to overcome the irreparable loss of Central figure who cared and protected from all danger and difficulties in life. By the bless of benevolent God, hope the family members recover from the shock and sorrow of missing the pivotal family head and begin the new metamorphosis of life brick by brick on the bed rock left behind as life has to go on whatever might be and demonstrate that confidence was not lost though the loss was immeasurable . We all miss him but will not forget his sacrifices.To the members of the Druk National Congress (DNC), I pledge my support and solidarity and hope that all the members together take up the tasks from the point where it is left and fulfill the wish and aspirations of the president without letting dent of void to establish peoples’ democracy and Human rights in Bhutan.

*The writer is the Chairman of Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) based in Nepal.

DNC expressed the gratitude

The Druk National Congress expressed its heartfelt gratitude to all the Bhutanese and well-wishers for their condolence messages on passing away of founding president, Rongthong Kunley Dorji.

Judiciary still the ally of regime

Recently, the High Court of Bhutan upheld the district court verdict of handing extra seven years and six month sentences to political prisoners Rinzin Wangdi, who already is serving the 24 years of sentences for engaging in pro-democratic movement, for leaking the inmate’s photographs from prison compound. The prison guard and lady were also sentenced to seven years and six month at same time for aiding him.

He was charged for taking photographs of inmates inside the jail and sending them outside the country. The prison guard Thinley Tobgay was prosecuted for being conduit.

According to reliable source, the Thimphu District Court verdict was drawn heavily from the photographic evidence of the lady with her sister and brother-in-law of defendant submitted by the government spies in exile. The forensic was not performed to authenticate the photograph and the “Judge” passed its prejudiced judgment against the defendant. The admittance of appeal in High Court itself was mere eyewash staged to sway the opinion of international human rights defenders and democratic campaigners.

The people inside Bhutan and the world over assumed that with the advent of democracy in 2008 and institution of independent judiciary under constitution, the rights of people would be protected and treated equally in the eye of law. But the High Court verdict against political activist Rinzin Wangdi proves otherwise. The judiciary of Bhutan continues to be the tool and ally of regime in silencing the dissent.

During the absolute monarchy era in 1990s, the demonstrators from southern and eastern Bhutan were arrested, raped, tortured, and killed by the regime and the judiciary provided the seal of approval of the act of the regime and it was also used as the cover up tool to protect the regime against the international community by arguing the letters of laws were followed. The judiciary of constitutional monarchy is no different. The first step the judiciary could have done was to initiate in releasing all the political prisoners including Rinzin Wangdi because these prisoners haven’t committed crime rather had demanded and worked for the establishment of democracy and human rights in Bhutan. Many assume, in due course of time, all will be released. After three years of “democracy transition’ in Bhutan and High Court verdict against Rinzin Wangdi, one can infer all talks of democracy in Bhutan is brilliantly choreographed.

Talk of new Political Party

There is a talk of two new political parties emerging in Bhutan to take part in 2013, General Election. According to media reports, one group is led by Dr. Tandin Dorji, a former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, and the other group by a former Dzongda, Dasho Penjor. They had reveled to media that a regular meeting is being held to decide on party ideology, logo and the charters.

With the stringent electoral laws in place and the regime’s will to flaunt the constitution, the people need to guard their optimism that more choice would be presented to them. In the first parliamentary election of 2008, the regime flaunted the constitution Article 15, section ( 5, 6,7). Therefore, it won’t be surprise to see the repeat of 2008 election once again.

Bomb blasts at Phuentsholing on the eve of Royal wedding

Two improvised explosive devices (IED) exploded at Phuentsholing at 6:30 pm on October 10, a few days ahead of the Royal wedding scheduled on 13th October . The explosion injured at least four Indian nationals and caused some minor damages.

An underground outfit, United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan (URFB), has claim the responsibility of the Bomb blasts.

Its statement reads “On the eve of Royal wedding, to draw the attention of the King Jigme Keshar Namgyal Wangchuck towards the gross national sufferings of the Bhutanese people, the URFB ignited two explosives at Phuentsholing,”

Earlier this year in May, a similar IED was exploded in the Bhutan.

Hunger strike and unregistered Bhutanese

Twelve woman staged the fast-unto-death hunger strike on November 15, demanding the refugee status at Beldangi refugee camp, Jhapa. Women were steadfast in their demand and were committed to make supreme sacrifice of their lives unless the Nepalese Government gave the assurance and timeframe in writing. They were forced to make such demand owing to Nepalese government’s not so serious reaction to their earlier strikes and demands.

For twelve days, the lives of twelve women were at risk. The Government of Nepal was reluctant to commit in writings. With mounting pressure from human rights defender and media to save the lives of twelve women, the Government of Nepal eventually gave in. On 26th November, Acting Chief District Office of Jhapa, Yogendra Dulal, and Durga Devi Bista, leader of the women in concerned signed the agreement paper where representatives from various agencies, rights defenders, the camp management committee of Beldangi and journalists were present as witnesses.

The agreement stated that the government will resume the stalled registration for issuing refugee identity cards and start the registration of all kinds of asylum seekers including new ones within the next five months. The Hunger strike was called off.

Many Bhutanese refugees had missed the opportunities during the 2006-2007 Joint Census conducted by the Government of Nepal and UNHCR.

BJP expresses concern over Bhutan's quit orders for Indians

The principal Opposition party of India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed their concern over Bhutan's alleged orders for 3000 Indians to leave the country by 29th November. Vijay Jolly, BJP's Overseas Convener of the foreign affairs cell said that the orders would strain relations between the two countries.
The Ministry of Labour and Human Resources of the Royal Government of Bhutan has directed the Indian working in the country to exit by November 29, 2011. The Bhutanese media have not reported of this quit orders.

"We have come over to express our sense of deep concern, dismay and disappointment over the reported orders of the Bhutan Government, asking the people of Indian origin in Bhutan to leave immediately and cease their business activities. They have never been a threat to the integrity, unity, independence, sovereignty, socio-economic and cultural growth of Bhutan.

This violates the India-Bhutan friendship treaty clause 5, which envisages a closer co-relation between the people of the two nations," he told media persons.
"The people of Indian origin living in Bhutan for more than fifty years, doing petty business and trade , should not be uprooted and the King of Bhutan, should take cognizance of the protest of the Bharatiya Janata Party," he said.

On behalf of the BJP, Jolly had met Bhutanese Ambassador Major General Vetsop Namgyel and handed him a memorandum addressed to the monarch and the head of state of Bhutan, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to intervene and take back the order.

There were 45,795 expat workers in the country as of 7th September, 2011. In the past, many non-Bhutanese had been deported from country after their working visa had expired or if found to have stayed in the country without the working visa.


Bilateral Talks in December?

Bhutanese Prime Minister, Jigme Thinley met Nepalese Counterpart Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at the side lines of the 17th SAARC Summit held at Addu City, Maldives in November. Both leaders agreed to resume the stalled bilateral talks to find a lasting solution of the two-decade long refugee imbroglio.
According to report, Talks are likely to take place in December.

Bhutanese Prime Minister in April, earlier this year had agreed to resume the stalled bilateral talks on the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees during his visit to Nepal.