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Druk National Congress - Political Organization of Bhutan






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NO 3
April - May, 2011
Druk National Congress - Political Organization of Bhutan

Overhaul the Samtenling Directive

By R.K.Dorji

Three years have lapsed since the “democratic” Constitution was promulgated after much fanfare and ceremony, on the 18th of July, 2008. Actual change, as the appearance suggested then, hasn't yet come under the 5th King, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. The Samtenling Directive is still pervasive. And fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution are still denied to the people.

The three major ethnic communities in Bhutan are the Ngalongs of the West, Lhotshampas of the South and Sharchops of the East. From 1972 to 1990, the share of top positions in Government belonged first to the Ngalongs, followed by the Lhotshampas, Sharchops coming in last. After the rebellion by the Lhotshampas in 1990s, the position changed slightly. Ngalongs continued to occupy the top slot. Sharchops leapfrogged to second place, relegating Lhotshampas to last position. Influential posts of the Chief of Army, Chief of Police and Gyalpoi Zimpon still go to the Ngalong Community.

Post-2008, a change was expected, but it was not to be. What we are seeing in Bhutan now is ethnic discrimination just as in the earlier times. The 5th King too, is giving more importance to the Ngalong Community. He gave away influential positions of the Gyalpoi Zimpon and Dronyer to the Ngalongs. This assertion doesn't mean that the Ngalongs occupy all the elite positions. A handful of Sharchops also are in high positions, but they don't owe their position to partiality or discriminatory policies. They have reached where they have based entirely on their merit and hard work. In the lower rung of the bureaucracy, army, police, business and other sectors, the Sharchops and the Lhotshampas however, continue to dominate.

Many Bhutanese assumed that the western region had prospered more in comparison to other regions because the capital is situated in west. But after three decades of observation, the basis for such deduction seems unfounded. The neglect of the development in other regions is deliberate and the result of the discriminatory policies of the Samtenling Directive. The Government receives large funds for development from international donors and India. Where do those billions promised in each successive five-year plans to development projects to Eastern and Southern regions of Bhutan go and continue to go. For example, the Kuri Chu Hydropower Project, which has the potential to generate over a thousand megawatts, was reduced to a 45 megawatt plant. The Government makes a big deal of having established this project in the East, whenever the question of development in the Eastern region is raised.

To mention a rather “dark-humoured” incident that brings to the surface this sectarian attitude at the very top in Bhutan - during the General Elections of 2008, Gup Hopola, from Bartsham, Tashigang, who had served the Queens for over 25 year when asked by Queen Dorji Wangmo who he had voted for, frankly admitted that he had voted for Jigme Thinley’s Party as he thought that this party would serve the country best. Ashi Dorji Wangmo became very angry and said, “Sharchops should never be trusted”. (She had expected him to vote for her brother, Sangay Nidup’s Party). Hopola was immediately sacked.

The fury of the 4th King against the Lhotsham and Sharchop community for rebelling against the Royal Government in the 1990s and in 1997, hasn't subsided even now. Sons and daughters of many Lhotshampas and Sharchops are denied security clearances and citizenship identity cards. They are denied opportunities in further studies and access to many welfare schemes that are available to other Bhutanese. I may be wrong, but so far I have not heard a single case of such denial to western Bhutanese. The denial of security clearances and citizenship has been the main policy of the 4th King to satisfy his anger. On this issue, even the Members of Parliament are helpless, despite it being one of major problems affecting their constituencies.

The only person who can rectify this is the 5th King. We are happy that many vulnerable sections of society are receiving kidu from the 5th King. An overhaul of this obnoxious policy by the 5th King would be a great kidu for the general public.

Ex-Dzongda Kado, during discussions in the National Assembly session of 1970, had remarked that the Government's policies are similar to horse dung. From outside, it looks very smooth, but enclosed inside is full of waste. His observation of Government policies of that time is no different than the policies of the present Government.

The struggle by the Druk National Congress and also the Lhotshampas has not much to do with the institution of Monarchy per se. The DNC’s struggle is to empower the Bhutanese people, ensure freedom, democratic rights and responsibilities under a written Constitution, and to strengthen the sovereignty of the country. Likewise, the Lhotshampas have struggled to demand reinstating of their citizenship rights. The 4th King is solely responsible for the political crisis that ensued thereafter. Instead of putting an end to the crisis he himself had created in first place, he abdicated the throne, leaving the crisis afresh as it is.

Now, the responsibility lies with 5th King to end the outstanding political crisis and break the adherence to the Samtenling Directive. The DNC has high expectations from the 5th King. The discriminatory policies and the non-issuances of citizenship identity cards and security clearances was the hallmark of the Samtenling Directive. An overhaul of the Samtenling Directive will bring immense benefits to the people and the country. In addition, the respect for the institution of Monarchy is going to increase more. Time has come to initiate a Lingkhana Directive. Sooner the better.

Fifth King Set to Marry

The 5th King, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, now 31 years, announced that he is ready to marry Jetsun Pema of 21 years, in October. He disclosed his intention during the opening session of Parliament on May 20.

The Royal Bride, Jetsun Pema, is the daughter of Sonam Choki and Dhondup Gyaltshen. Dhondup Gyaltshen is the son of former Brigadier Ugen Dorji Tangbi of Trongsa, and Aum Karma Yangzom, daughter of Tashigang Dzongpon Thinley Topgay (Sey Dopola). Sonam Choki is the daughter of Dasho Thinley Namgyal and Aum Rinchen of Bumthang.

Druk National Congress welcomed the announcement of the King's marriage and extended its best wishes to both the 5th King and his future Queen.

Zhabdrung's rehabilitation is necessary

The 7th Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji, was assassinated at Talo under the 2nd King’s orders. The 8th Zhabdrung, Jigme Tendzin Chojay, was assassinated at Tashigang under the 3rd King’s orders. The 9th Zhabdrung Jigme Ngawang Namgyal, escaped the fate of his predecessors when he was whisked away from Bhutan at a tender age, and placed under the protection of India.

In 1988, Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, had arranged a meeting between the 9th Zhabdrung and the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, at Asoka Hotel, New Delhi. Following Conversation is said to have taken place. Fourth King: “who recognized you as the reincarnation of the Zhabdrung?”. Zhabdrung: “your loyal subjects”. The conversation abruptly ended before it actually started.

The times I met Zhabdrung Rinpoche, I had, at every opportunity, requested Rinpoche to refrain from any unnecessary comments on politics regarding Bhutan, reminding him that utmost care should be taken to avoid being drawn into the politics of Bhutan, as I felt that an opportune time hadn't yet arrived. I found him receptive to my suggestions. He didn’t display any kind of intent and ambition towards politics. After 2000, I never met Rinpoche.

In the meantime, the people of Pedong, whose ancestry are from Bhutan, and were devoted to the Drukpa Kagyurpa sect, offered the Zhabdrung land to built a monastery at Pedong, Kalimpong. The Zhabdrung established the Drukpa Kagyurpa Institute in Pedong and at Bodh Gaya. Both monasteries bustled with activity, with the Drukpa Kagyurpa tradition there rivaling the Central Monastic Body at Punakha and Thimphu. Thousands of Bhutanese came to Pedong from Bhutan daily to receive Rinpoche’s blessings. Bhutanese refugees too visited Pedong to seek blessings. Refugee leaders with their vested interest started to visit him frequently. They repeatedly requested Rinpoche to take proactive interest in Bhutan’s politics.

On the 13th of November, 2002, the Kathmandu Post of Nepal reported an interview of the Zhabdrung where he stated, "the refugees (Bhutanese) are not treated as human beings. They must be given due respect. Bhutan has done no justice to them. It should be practical. Mere talks cannot resolve the refugee problem", He added further, "The people of Bhutan feel suppressed socially and politically. They feel politically insecure. Bhutan (situation) is dangerous. You cannot speak about the system. It is worse than terror, so it is extremely dangerous".

Rinpoche passed away on the 5th of April, 2003, at CMS, hospital, Vellore, India, where he had gone there for medical checkup. Some claim Rinpoche became ill after consuming food offered by Bhutanese woman at Mal Bazar, Siliguri, in early April. Once again Zhabdrung Trulku passed away at quite a young age.

In December 2004, the reincarnation of the 10th Zhabdrung Pema Namgyal, was declared at Bodh Gaya, Bihar. He was recognized on the basis of Choechong Tseumara's vision and the guidance and recognition of the XVII Karmapa Rinpoche. Prior to this declaration, Khenpo Tshoki Dorji had repeatedly approached the XVII Karmapa Rinpoche, despite His Holiness repeatedly saying that the time wasn’t right yet. In the end, the XVII Karmapa Rinpoche relented. The Zhabdrung’s Trulku was one year and four month old then. It appears Rinpoche has emanated two month before he passed away on the April 5th, 2003. Such emanations are possible.

Yangse Rinpoche was taken to Pedong, Kalimpong. In October 2005, the Royal Bhutanese Government invited the 10th Zhabdrung to face a “reincarnation committee”. The unwitting Khenpo Tshoki Dorji and Sonam Dorji accepted the invitation. The extending of invitation by the Royal Government itself gives proof that the child is truly the Trulku of the 9th Zhabdrung, whatever the outcome. It was reported the Royal Government had made grand arrangements all the way up to the Chukha Dzongkhag. Thereafter, a journey was into oblivion. The Yangse and his family were kept in a secret location, totally cut off from interaction with the people. The Royal Government’s mouthpiece, the Kuensel, reported on 23 November 2005, that the reincarnation committee had discovered the claimant as a fake. But instead of letting the child free, the Royal Government placed him and his family under heavy security surveillance. The ban on interaction with public is strictly enforced.

Zhabdrung, the jewel of Bhutanese people, has been born several times in Bhutan. But none of them have been ever been recognized outside the country. The Central Monastic Body would verify a Trulku by asking him to indentify the belongings of the previous reincarnate. In some cases, the Zhabdrung Trulku could even recognize persons who had served his predecessor.

The 8th Zhabdrung Jigme Tendzin Chojay was born in 1939 at Manla, Tashigang. According to his mother, she had dreamt the whole Zhung Dratsang entering her small humble house. Three months prior to the Zhabdrung’s birth, especially during auspicious dates of 8, 10, 15 and 30, a rainbow covered her house. The people in Manla village saw these miraculous events. During the time of birth, a spring sprouting milky white water sprang suddenly out of ground just above her house. The rainbows covered the sky over the house. The milky spring only dried out after a month. The whole village witnessed this miracle. People were without doubt, that child indeed was the reincarnation of the Zhabdrung Rinpoche.

Every 12 years, in the year of the monkey, Buddhists go for pilgrimage to the sacred ‘Tseri Rongkar Nye” in Tibet. Six monks from the Central Monastic Body (Punakha) were in route to this sacred pilgrimage via Tashigang. They had heard that the Zhabdrung Rinpoche had reincarnated in Manla village. They went to Manla village to see for themselves. As soon as the six-year old boy saw them, he sprinted towards a monk who happened to have served the previous Zhabdrung at Talo Gonpa, Punakha, and hugged him and cried. The boy repeatedly cried out, “I have looked everywhere and now I have found you, don’t leave me behind”. The monks were convinced that the boy was, in fact, the true reincarnate of the Zhabdrung. The monks stayed there for a few days and returned to Punakha, although they didn’t take the Trulku with them. The encounter between the monks and the six-year old boy was witnessed by the people of Manla. The news of the true reincarnation of the Zhabdrung Rinpoche spread throughout the country. The Trulku was kept under the care of the Tashigangpa Thinley Tobgay (Dopola). In fact, the first session of the National Assembly of Bhutan in 1953, had discussed the possibility of rehabilitation of the Zhabdrung at the Central Monastic Body and his mother at Talo Gonpa. The King accepted that this issue regarding the Zhabdrung would be taken up in next session.

The 9th Zhabdrung Jigme Ngawang Namgyal, was born from the sister of the 8th Zhabdrung Jigme Tendzin Chogay, at Manla, Tashigang in 1955. Auspicious signs like the rainbow and stream turning milky-white were visible during his birth - birth signs similar to that when his predecessor was born. His brother, a lama, Jangchub Palsang, feared that he would face a fate similar to the earlier reincarnates. So he took the child when he was four years old to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. He then handed the child Zhabdrung to the Indian political officer based at Bomdeling. Who in turn, handed him over to Nari Rustomji, the political officer of Assam based at Shillong, Meghalaya. Rustomji brought him to New Delhi and presented him to the Government of India. He was placed under the protection of the Indian Government. He was kept at Rewalsar in Himachal Pradesh. He received Buddhist teachings and was also tutored in Hindi, English, Tibetan and Hindi.

There is report of two more reincarnates of the 9th Zhabdrung being born in Bhutan. It now appears that the Zhabdrung Rinpoche is emanating in the form of Ku, Sung and Thug, (Body, Mind, and Heart). May be the time has arrived fro them to fulfill their destiny. The first Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was the founder of our nation. The people of Bhutan have immense reverence to each successive Trulku of the Zhabdrungs. From the spiritual point, and for the well-being of the nation, its people and the Monarchy, Zhabdrung Trulku deserves proper rehabilitation at Talo Gonpa with honour and dignity.

Indian Youth Parliamentarians for Amicable Solution to Bhutanese Refugee Issues

The Youth Parliamentary delegation from India met exiled Bhutanese leader, Tek Nath Rijal, during their visit to Nepal. Mr. Rizal requested the youth parliamentarians to urge the Government of India to initiate a dignified repatriation of Bhutanese refugees. The Parliamentarians agreed that an amicable solution to the Bhutanese refugee problem should be sought by Nepal and India, but asserted however, that their view doesn’t necessarily reflect the view of their Government.

The delegation comprised Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of Biju Janata Dal, O.T. Lepcha of Sikkim Democratic Front, Pradeep Majhi of Indian National Congress, Kamlesh Paswan and Sanjay Jaiswal of Bharatiya Janata Party and Niraj Shekhar of Samajwadi Party.

Elections to the Local Governments Announced

The first Local Government Elections under the Constitution promulgated in 2008, will be held on June 27. The Election Commission had earlier announced the Election date as May 24, but deferred it after receiving a Royal Decree to first settle the issues surrounding the disqualification of former members of political parties. The Local Government Elections had been postponed for over four years with the Government cited difficulties resulting over delimitations, and capacity-building of local leaders.

Bhutan and Nepal Agrees to Resume Bilateral Talks on Refugees

Nepal and Bhutan have agreed to resume bilateral negotiations on the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees, that was stalled since 2003. This was agreed upon in a meeting between Nepalese Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, and Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley in Kathmandu, on 15th April.

Jigme Thinley visited Kathmandu in his capacity as the SAARC Chairperson to appraise Nepal on the achievements of SAARC in recent days.

“Both Prime Ministers agreed to resume stalled talks at the Ministerial Joint Committee level, to resolve the problems of Bhutanese refugees staying in camps in eastern Nepal”, a Foreign Ministry statement read.

Tek Nath Rizal, President of People's Forum for Human Rights in Bhutan, though pessimistic about the talks, harbours just a flicker of hope of finding a resolution of the refugee problems under the tenure of Jigme Thinly, since he considered Jigme Thinley the chief lieutenant of the former King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s program against the Lhotshampa in 1990s. Jigme Thinley's knowledge in being a core part of the 5th King’s plan, makes him the right person for the task. In addition, he added that India’s role is indispensable in resolving the crisis. India did not give shelter to the refugees but sent them to Nepal.

Mr. Rizal added, “in the aftermath of the third country resettlement programme, it is multi-lateral talks, with core countries involved in third country resettlement process as well as India who must be involved in finding a lasting and durable solution.”

Balaram Poudel, President of Bhutan People's Party, also shared the same views as that of Rizal. The Bhutanese Government is buying time till the entire refugee community opts for third country resettlement. He however thinks Nepal would be better off investing its energy in facilitating a dialogue between the Bhutanese Government and the leaders of exiled political parties. A political breakthrough could solve the refugee crisis.

R.K.Dorji, President of Druk National Congress, welcomed the resumption of bilateral talks. He stressed that exiled Bhutanese are waiting for a dignified repatriation to take place.

Dorji Meets with Refugee Elders

Mr. R.K.Dorji, President of DNC, met with a group of Bhutanese refugee Elders during his visit to Jhapa, Eastern Nepal, in early April, to get the first hand information about the refugee camps. The group of Elders and Mr. Dorji had extensive discussions on issues of related to human rights, democracy and repatriation. The Elders group apprised Mr. Dorji that there are over twenty seven thousand refugees who are committed to return their home. In regard to repatriation cause, Elders agreed to work with Alliance leadership that was formed among political parties.

“We will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice and repatriation of refugees” Mr. Dorji said. He further agreed to pay a visit to the refugee camps in the near future along with colleagues.

Sangla Drukpa, no more

Sangla Drukpa, political leader, serving life imprisonment in Bhutan, died on 28 April, 2011, at the Thimphu Referral Hospital. The Doctor declared brain hemorrhage as the cause of death. He was 64.

While in prison, his wife and children were denied access to meet him - the duty police officer denied his existence. Even when he was at the threshold of death, the official simply didn't bother to inform the family members. Only after his death, the police authorities contacted his family to dispose of the dead body. Knowing the summary ways of the Royal Regime, it is anybody’s guess if this death was the outcome of prolonged torture - consequentially murder, or not. All this was taking place right under the nose of the "democratic elected Government" and after the "promulgation of the democratic Constitution".

Sangla Drukpa's treatment sums up the cold attitude, and apathy of the Royal Government and the police, and the treatment that is meted out to political prisoners in particular. The celebrated fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution is thrown out of the window. The situation is especially so under the leadership of the current Police Chief, Kipchu Namgyal, who has had a stint as one of the intelligence officials targeting political dissidents and their groups, prior to his present post, and continues to enjoy direct access to the very top, unlike his predecessor. The police uses Constitutional rights selectively. There is a report that Sangla Drukpa's wife and children are still denied their citizenship.

Sangla Drukpa had joined an exiled political party in 1996 after he learnt that his brother was murdered in cold blood by the Government. He tried several avenues to seek justice for his murdered brother, but in vain.

On February 6, 2002, the Kuensel had reported that Sangla Drukpa was arrested on February 5 in Bhutan. This was a blatant lie. As soon as his arrest in India was known to Bhutanese authorities through the Indian media, the Bhutanese security swiftly availed of his release on bail for a non-bailable offence from the Siliguri Magistrate, and whisked him away to Bhutan. On April 4, Bhutanese High Court pronounced his life imprisonment.

Similar connivance of the Indian Judiciary, Indian security officials and Bhutanese security was once again repeated when Tenzing Gawa Zangpo, Bhutanese dissident leader, had been arrested on November 10, 2008 in Assam for his alleged role in Assam bomb blast. He was granted bail by two CBI Courts on March 30 and 31, 2009. He was released on April 6 at around 5: 30 pm from the Gawahati Jail. Bhutanese security officials along with Indian security officials rearrested him from the Court premises within a few minutes, and whisked him away to Bhutan. Presently he is lodged in the Central Jail in Thimphu.

Tenzing is being tried for several charges in Bhutan’s High Court. His friends in exile fear the Royal Government will eliminate him in due course of time.

People in the Refugee Camps are Bhutanese Citizens

Prime Minister Jigme Thinley, during his recent visit to Nepal, asserted in Kathmandu that refugees in the camps are not Bhutanese citizens. That is sheer expression of arrogance. He engages in such assertion more often in recent times. While whole world acknowledge that people in camps are Bhutanese citizens, if Jigme Thinley continues to insist refugees aren't Bhutanese, then he has to prove otherwise and where they have come from? Ethnic Nepalese are present in Bhutan, Nepal and India. Therefore, a tripartite talk between Nepal, Bhutan and India is a must, if a durable solution to the refugees' crisis is ever to be achieved.

The refugees in the camps possess legal documents issued by the Royal Government of Bhutan which unequivocally proves that they are bona fide citizens of Bhutan. Repatriation is their fundamental right. Every Bhutanese in exile is waiting for repatriation. The International Community must assure their dignified repatriation and shouldn't sway to Jigme Thinley's false campaign.

King's Kidu to Ex-Major Pem Tshering

Ex-Major Pem Tshering who was at the helm of the Army Welfare Project’s management for 10 years, was found guilty by the High Court for embezzlement of Nu 97 million from the Army Welfare Project in 2007. The case investigation team took four years to frame the charges against him. He was sentenced to 9 years rigorous imprisonment and ordered to refund the embezzled amount to the State. A month ago, King granted kidu (Royal pardon) to him and he was released from prison. The Ex-Major Pem Tshering episode reinforces the dictum in Bhutan that people having Palace connections can go scot free. Many assert that he was sharing his loot with certain members of the Royal family, and that was the reason behind his Royal pardon.

Army Welfare Project, only distillery manufacturing liquor industry in Bhutan was started in 1984-85 for the welfare of the Bhutanese army personnel and their families. Alcohol (spirits) is imported from India without paying duty. With its duty free privileges, it is a very profitable undertaking. But nobody is told where the profits go. Nothing is heard of regarding the money being spent on the welfare of the army personnel and their families.

Pem Tshering has real estate worth in millions, houses, vehicles, and had siphoned off Nu 97 million of public money, and yet receives Royal kidu! Precedent set forth by Pem Tshering’s episode is an inspiration to the other people who intend to embezzle State money. In contrast, the Royal Government continues to incarcerate hundreds of Bhutanese for demanding democracy and human rights even after country adopted a “democratic Constitution” in 2008 and has a “democratically elected Government”.

Jigme Thinley - Disappointment for the People

Jigme Thinley, as the President of Druk Phuentsum Tshogpa, enjoyed enormous goodwill of the people, and romped though the General Elections by winning 45 seats out of 47 seats in the National Assembly. He became the Prime Minister. During the election campaign trail, he promised to ensure and uphold democracy, peace, prosperity, justice and developments. So far, his promises have become the usual political rhetoric of politicians. People both in Bhutan and in exile were full of hope when he was elected. Everybody endorsed him as the right person. The Masses expected that democracy, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peace in Bhutan will be ensured. But in the last three years of his governance, he has kept himself busy by taking numerous foreign trips to promote the concept of Gross National Happiness and the Monarchy. The place where he is needed most is left to multiple actors like the Kings, Queens and so forth. The political crisis that erupted in 1990s is still not resolved. The off-shoots of that crisis continue to affect Bhutan periodically - like the recent bomb blast in Southern Bhutan.

The Constitution adopted under the leadership of Jigme Thinley has placed the King above the Constitution. A precedence of implementing laws selectively has been set in motion. For example, the election eligibility of Parliamentarians was implemented rigidly, while the Acts governing the nominations/election of Judges for Supreme Court were thrown into the dustbin. Majority of people hold the belief that Jigme Thinley’s attitude took a radical change after his son married one of the princesses. A majority of his cabinet colleagues are also of the same view.

The Parliament has become a discussion house, either to raise the pay scale for Ministers and Members themselves, or to singing praises in praise of the Monarchy. The discussion on the territorial integrity of the nation is passed over. No discussion is initiated on how did Bhutan’s territory of 48,500 sq km became 38,000 sq km? Unlike the Members of Parliament and Jigme Thinley, the people of Bhutan must discuss and question the shrinking of our country's territory. The responsibility lies with each and every Bhutanese to safeguard the territorial sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

The Powerful Women of Bhutan

The first two Kings of Bhutan were never under the influence of their mothers or their queens, unlike the two succeeding Kings. Ashi Phuentsho Choden and Ashi Pem Dechen were never given political space by their husband, the 2nd King. After his death, Ashi Phuentsho Choden became the chief advisor to her son, the 3rd King. Ashi Pem Dechen was devoted religious woman and became nun. The other woman who exercised political power on behalf of 3rd King was his mistress. In 1958, the 3rd King took Yangki, of Tibetan origin, as his mistress. It appeared that the King was in love with her. The King acceded to whatever she wished. Because of her influence over him, she became very powerful. She was always with the King. Wherever she traveled, a huge entourage followed her. Yangki used to appoint many people to senior government positions. Her father, Kayang-bu, also began to exert power drawn from his daughter. One example of such misuse of power is his grabbing land belonging to villagers in Bumthang and Gelegphu.

Until 1961, Queen Kesang Choden was ignorant of the King's affair. Her brother, Jigme Palden Dorji, the then Prime Minister, was aware of the King's affair, but didn't pay much attention. She however never chided the King even after finding out about the love affair. She was a determined and strong-willed woman biding her time. But the differences between them became very serious, especially after Jigme Palden Dorji's assassination in 1964. She found out that the murder weapon used by Tsagay Jamba to shoot her brother was indeed handed over by Kayang-bu, Yangki's father. She deduced that the sophistication of the assassination plan couldn’t have been possible without the tacit support of the King. She accused the King of her brother's murder. She locked up herself at Dechencholing Palace along with children. For 9 years, neither spoke to each other. During that time, there was no one except Dasho Ugen Dorji (Rimp) who shared her grief and stood by her. They reconciled their relations when Crown Prince was appointment the Tongsa Penlop in 1972. The children used to visit their father at Lingkana Garden Palace occasionally, and they had to enjoy the company of Yangki.

The King fathered four children with Yangki in the 1960s. They were Jurme Wangdi, Namgyal Wangdi, Dechen Wangmo and Kesang Choden. The King, before passing way, ensured that they had all the wealth they needed for a lifetime. In 1974, in the aftermath of the assassination of Jigme Palden Dorji, Yangki and her family fled to India. After almost 35 years, the 5th King is said to have reconciled with Yangki's family. But what about the innocent Sharchop soldiers and Tibetans who were murdered by the Royal Government during this incident?

Ashi Kesang Choden and Dasho Ugyen Dorji were at the helm of power after 1972. The King was young and mother-uncle duo took all decisions in the name of the young King. The duo's power declined as Dorji Wangmo, the present eldest queen, took their place from 1982 onwards.

From 1978, Dorji Wangmo, and subsequently her three younger sisters, became personally associated with the 4th King, until he married them all in 1988.Dorji Wangmo slowly became very influential. Her father, Ugyen Dorji, just filled in the shoes of Yangki's father. He abused his powers, and he too forcefully took away lands belonging to villagers. The 4th King simply issued kashos giving Ugen Dorji right of ownership of the villagers’ lands. He never reflected on how his kashos adversely affected the people. A classic example being the dismissal of five Judges, including Chief justice Paljor Dorji for giving a judgment against his kasho in which he had given the land belonging to the thirty villagers of Ha Tsaphey to Wangdi Gyaltshen, the maternal uncle of Ashi Dorji Wangmo.

Even the members of the Royal family were not spared. Ashi Sonam Choden, eldest sister of the 4th King, was his representative in the Ministry of Finance. Ashi Sonam Choden had sacked Dorji Wangmo (when she was a commoner) from the Tourism Department. When Dorji Wangmo became Queen, she exacted her pound of flesh on Ashi Sonam Choden. Ashi Sonam Choden was relived of her responsibility at Ministry of Finance.

Bomb Blasts Rock Southern Bhutan

At least two bombs exploded in Gelegphu and Phuentsholing within two hours on 22nd May. The incident left one person injured. The first blast occurred around 7:50pm in Phuentsholing town. Police said that the explosive was detonated in a metal dustbin. Another blast in Gelegphu town occurred at 9:40pm the same night. No casualties were reported in the Gelegphu blast. Police stated that the bomb was planted near the town’s only cinema hall.

The United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan (URFB) has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts. It said the blasts were aimed at drawing the attention of the ongoing National Assembly towards the people’s aspiration and the continuous suffering of innocent Bhutanese people in general.

Break in Tradition

In keeping with the age-old tradition of residing for six months at their summer residence at Thimphu, and six months at their winter residence at Punakha, His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the monks of the Central Monastic Body, reached Thimphu on first day of the fourth Bhutanese month. This year, the 5th King, accompanied by his fiancée Ashi Jetsun Pema, received His Holiness Je Khenpo and the monks of the Central Monastic Body at the Lingkana Palace. The reverence and respect shown by the Monarch to His Holiness Je Khenpo and the Monk Body is totally new. Until now the four preceding Monarchs, from Ugyen Wangchuk to Jigme Singye Wangchuck, have never received the Je Khenpo and Monk Body.

The people of Bhutan welcomes and rejoices at this gesture of the 5th King, in thus showing respect for the most revered institution of Bhutan.

Religion above Politics

His Holiness Je Khenpo Jigme Choda, the 70th in succession is the present head of the Central Monastic Body since his nomination in 1996. In these many years, His Holiness has traveled the length and breadth of the country, preaching the Buddha Dharma. His Holiness’ initiation programmes organised throughout the country periodically, is a reflection of the country's non-secular, Buddhist character.

But some of His Holiness’ discourses on ley-jumdrey (cause and effect, or, karma) and tha-dam-tsek (breach of faith/samaya) and his equating this to be the basis of relationship between the people and the Royal Government, transgresses to the political domain. His Holiness, in more than one occasion, has been found to be reminding the congregation he addressed, to respect and trust the Government. Religious scriptures mention the existence of mutual trust and respect between the Guru and his disciples. If this same principle is to apply to the ruler and the ruled, there cannot be one-way traffic, like one is visible in Bhutan. Bhutanese had reposed their trust, faith and respect on the Monarchy. But the Monarch resorted to torture, killing and unwarranted incarceration of his subjects.

A Government in a democracy is chosen by the people to run the affairs of the state according to their will. It is purely a working relationship, and if the people do not agree with the policies and the working of a government, it has the option of voting it out of this job. The very fact that the people vote a government into power is proof of the faith and trust it has placed on a government to do the job they have entrusted upon it, and it does not require another to remind the people of this.

Bhutanese Politicians continue to have great respect for the Institution of the Je Khenpo and the Central Monastic Body. The Constitution of Bhutan has clearly lain down that religion remains separate from politics. And the Government’s policies have gone so far as to keep religious institutions and personalities from participating for involving themselves in politics. It therefore becomes the responsibility of the Central Monastic Body, particularly because it is supported directly by the Government, and personalities thereof, to remain above politics.

Further transgression into political domain will only lower the status of such religious institutions and such religious personalities.