Religion & Culture


Human Rights


Bhutan History

Bhutan Today

Press Release


Druk National Congress - Political Organization of Bhutan






Dzongkha Edition






Restricted for Private Circulation Only

NO 1
January 15- February 15, 2011
Druk National Congress - Political Organization of Bhutan



Honorary DNC Vice-President to Ex-Drungpa Tshewang Rinzin

Ex-Drungpa Tshewang Rinzin, 53, political prisoner serving life imprisonment at Chamgang Central jail, Thimphu, for alleged treason, since his arrest on 31 July, 1998 was awarded the Honorary Vice-Presidentship of Druk National Congress on 17th December, 2010, for his recognition and commitment to democracy, justice and human rights. The unanimous decision on the award was taken during the Central Committee meeting of Druk National Congress held on 1st December, 2010, at Kathmandu, Nepal.

In 1998, he was arrested at Tana Lung gate, on the way to Thimphu, for carrying literatures of Druk National Congress. During interrogation, he defended himself saying that DNC literatures were freely available and found no harm in carrying and reading it. After being subjected to torturous interrogation, he remonstrated that he had lost faith and respect for the King. The interrogation team concluded that he had committed treason as he spoke against King, one of the constituent of Tsa-Wa- Sum, i.e., King, People and Country, and a treasonable offence under the National Security Act, 1992. The Bhutanese judiciary convicted him for treason and handed him life imprisonment.

During the last 13 years, he has shown remarkable will and resolve in the face of authority that it is his fundamental democratic right and justice to demand his release from arbitrary incarceration. He held hunger strikes in prison often to demand his release from arbitrary imprisonment.

The Druk National Congress urges the international community to demand that the Bhutanese regime release the innocent Ex-Drungpa Tshewang Rinzin unconditionally. DNC further expects that India, being the beacon of democracy and justice will use its good office in affecting his unconditional release.

State’s Political Party

The National Assembly of Bhutan on 7th December, 2010, endorsed the amendment in the Election Act that provides state funding for the two existing political parties in Bhutan. It was unanimously endorsed despite comical defiance shown by the opposition leaders during debate.
Druk Phuentsum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have an outstanding overdraft of Nu 15.8 million and Nu 3 million respectively. This expense is said to have been incurred during the course of the elections and setting up of party offices at Thimphu and other places. This expenditure has been incurred despite the Election Commission footing the bill of each contesting candidates and their campaign expenditure. The Election Act provided state funding of Nu 1 lakh each to contestants.

The issue of state funding of political parties was repeatedly raised in each preceding session of the National Assembly. The Chief Election Commission in past said, “The move by the Government to provide state funding for political parties is unconstitutional”.

The Constitution envisages a multiparty system, but the present action by the Parliamentarians has virtually established the two parties in Bhutan.
The funding for future political parties is brushed aside on the pretext of budget challenges. The exiting parties are granted an upper hand. The DPT Government has shown its true colour in its “tyranny of the majority” in the National Assembly.

R.K.Dorji, President of Druk National Congresses, says, “This clearly shows the anti-democratic character and mal-intent of the Government and the Regime. Most of the prominent bureaucrats, particularly those partial to the Regime, were made to resign from the bureaucracy and establish the two political parties, one currently in Government and the other feebly in the opposition. It was evident right from the beginning that the Regime was orchestrating this to keep its grip on future politics and the political parties.

Despite the election fund previously allocated to contesting candidates, the endorsement now to amend the Election Act to allow for the Government to fund the entire activities of the two political parties, blatantly displays the intention of the Regime to keep complete control of Bhutan’s politics. The Parliamentarians flounder when it comes to addressing people-friendly and pro-democratic policies, but they seem to take no time to clear self-serving and pro-regime proposals. The King, in his role as the protector of the Constitution and “democracy”, should rightfully step in to veto this amendment. But then, will he, when it suits his purpose or when he could be the one actually orchestrating this?
This move by the National Assembly has undermined both democracy and the Constitution.


Regime’s Defiance

Rinzin Wangdi, 30, a political prisoner serving a 25 year and 3 month sentence at Chamgang Central Jail, Thimphu, since his arrest on 25th June, 1999, for alleged sedition, has been slapped with another seven years and three months extension few weeks ago for allegedly maintaining links with dissidents groups. A woman and a man have been also slapped with imprisonment terms of 3 years and 9 years respectively. Both were imprisoned for allegedly being Mr. Rinzin’s conduit outside jail.

Mr. Rizin Wangdi was arrested for working with pro-democracy groups. During the political uprising in eastern Bhutan in 1997 at his village Dramatse, in Mongar, his family members were forcefully exiled. His father, Sangay Dorji was arrested for participating in peaceful demonstration. His father was released only in 2005 after serving an eight-year prison sentence. At present, his mother, brothers and sisters are staying in refugee camp at Jhapa in eastern Nepal.

The Government of Bhutan’s action is a deliberate provocation to the international community and the United Nation’s agency, which on UN Human Rights Day, on 10 December had received a memorandum from exiled Bhutanese throughout the world pleading that the UN office pressure the Bhutanese regime to release all political prisoners unconditionally.

The Prison Act, 2009, prescribes punishment in case of violation of some prison norms. But nowhere is it mentioned that seven years sentence can be added to existing term arbitrarily.

The Druk National Congress demands that the UN office in Thimphu and the International Committee of Red Cross, Delhi look into the matter and ensure the immediate release of the imprisoned woman and man, and the unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Mr. Rinzin Wangdi at earliest.


The Forgotten People

The Bhutanese people are indifferent to when it comes to the “Gawang Lheme’s” (National Worker) plight. Most Bhutanese even don't know that these hard toilers found by the sides of roads in Bhutan are their fellow citizens. Most rather presume that these people are migrants workers from India. The Lhotshampas workers are presumed as the DANTAK workers and no one bothers to inquire into their hard lives. The Sharchopa workers, easily identified due to their national dress, are looked down upon by their own well-off ethnic brothers and sisters.

The national worker or Gewang Lheme, as we know, mostly belongs to the ethnic Sharchop and Lhotshamps communities. They are mostly landless citizens or driven out due to poverty. They live in wretched conditions without access to proper sanitation, water, health and education amenities along the sides of the roads. They are always on move from place to place along the roads. They are employed as labourers for the maintenance of roads. Their basic pay is said to be around Nu.3,000/- per month. With this meager amount they have to sustain their hard life. With the steady rise in food prices, they are hard pressed, yet none come forward to their rescue, including the Gross National Happiness enumerator, to measure their happiness.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) in Bhutan is fixed at Nu.100 a day in 2001. For a decade, there hasn’t been a single revision of the NMW, while the civil servants and army personnel’s’ salaries have increased substantially during the same time. It is high time that these “forgotten people” dues are repaid. The National Worker’s basic pay must be Nu.9,000/- per month and the NMW must be fixed at Nu.300/- a day. The Government must take immediate measures to enroll their children in schools and provide them basic necessities like clean drinking water, sanitation, etc.


Condolence Message

The Druk National Congress (DNC) expressed its heartfelt condolence to the families of the victims of air crash in Nepal and vehicle accidents inside Bhutan, that has claimed the lives of 30 people this December.

Rongthong Kunley Dorji, President, DNC said, "it is unfortunate that such incidents have occurred. My heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families and I offer prays for the salvation of the departed souls".

Mr. Teknath Rizal, noted human rights leader, on the ill-fated incident of the Tara Air crash with 18 Bhutanese pilgrims on board on December 15 said, “I am highly saddened by this incident where 18 of my fellow-countrymen have lost their valuable lives. I, on behalf of Bhutanese citizens in exile extend my heartfelt condolence to the families of those who have lost their lives in the incident”.

Both leaders thanked the efforts of the Government of Nepal and commended the work of the rescue teams.

Mr. Shyam Gambhir, General Secretary of Indo-Bhutan Friendship Society, also expressed his heartfelt condolences on behalf of Society and the people of India.

Only Royal NGOs in Bhutan

It is disheartening to observe that NGOs in Bhutan are either founded or run by members of the Royal Family or people well-connected with them. The work of the “Democratic Government” is not only overwhelmed by the Monarch, even his family members are at the forefront in restricting civil society.

The Bhutan Foundation based in USA is under the Royal Grandmother, Ashi Kesang Choden. Tarayana Foundation is under one of the Queen Mothers, Ashi Dorji Wangmo, and Bhutan Youth Development Fund is under another Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Pem. No one can cast doubts about their ability to raise handsome contributions and seek funds for the deep pockets of their respective NGOs when needed. In addition, the Princes and Princess are deputed as the King’s representatives in several non-governmental organizations.

Bhutanese citizens, still aspiring for a truly free and independent society, who wish to establish NGOs that can function freely and purposefully, are prevented from doing so, unless they agree to work under or in partnership with members of Royal Family. At present, there are some ten NGOs registered in Bhutan, and all of these organizations are either under the members of the Royal Family or partners in their activities.

The health of democracy in a country can be measured by the relative size and quality of its civil society. The Royal family’s inroads into Bhutan’s NGO world is an attempt to project the existing farcical democracy as genuine democracy to the outside world, while the real reason is to keep a firm Royal hold on development funds and curtail NGO activities.

Municipal Election on January 21, 2011

The deliberately delayed local government election is now all set to be held on 26th January, 2011. But first, the Government has directed the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to conduct the elections to four municipalities. These are Thimphu, Gelegphu, Phuntsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar. The ECB has issued a directive that exiting municipal and town committees shall stand dissolved on 21st December, 2010.

Four Thrompon and 36 Tshogpa seats are up for elections. The Bhutanese regime, obsessed with qualifications, brought in the election stipulation that candidates must have a formal university degree as a prerequisite for the post of Thrompon (Mayor), while for the Tshogpa seats, candidates must have passed the functional literary test conducted by the ECB last month. Amongst other conditions, the candidates must be apolitical.

The rest of the local government elections is slated to be held in mid-2011. The local government elections were deliberately delayed amidst fears that elections at the grass roots would have presented an altogether different challenge to the Regime had the election been conducted simultaneously with the general elections or right after it.


SAHR urges Bhutanese Government to Release Political Prisoners

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a network of independent human rights activists from eight SAARC countries, urged the government of Bhutan to release political prisoners. It also called for the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees and the setting up of mechanisms to oversee human rights abuses in the country, the statement issued at the conclusion of the SAHR regional consultation of citizens' voices held at Kathmandu, Nepal 27-29 November 2010, noted.

SAHR has in past organized several conferences and published material on Bhutanese refugee issues.

During the conference, Mr. Teknath Rizal, Chairman, People’s Forum for Human Rights in Bhutan, presented a paper on the human rights situation in Bhutan. He said that fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution are still not implemented since the democracy-demanding political prisoners are still incarcerated. In addition, not a single human rights organization is registered in Bhutan and there is abject absence of documentation of the human rights abuses committed by the state actors and others in the country. This absence has granted the perpetrators absolute impunity.

He also highlighted that Bhutanese faced human rights abuses even outside their country notably in neighboring Indian states that shares its border with Bhutan.

Mr. Balaram Poudyal, President of Bhutan’s Peoples Party and Mr. Kesang Lhendup, General Secretary of Druk National Congress also took part in the proceedings of the conference.


Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement crosses the 40,000 mark

The UNHCR marked the 60th Anniversary on 13th December, 2010. The UN Agency announced that the resettlement of Bhutanese refugee to eight resettlement countries has reached the 40,000 mark. The resettlement program started in 2008.
The latest statistics furnished on 13th December, 2010, reveal that the United States of America has become the new home for 34,129 refugees. Other countries accepting refugees are Canada (2,333), Australia (2,168), New Zealand (498), Norway (373), Denmark (326), the Netherlands (229) and the United Kingdom (111).

Campaign to Release Political Prisoners

On the occasion of the 62nd Human Rights Day on 10th December 2010, Bhutanese citizens settled in various countries in the west, including United States, Canada, England, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Australia and in Nepal, submitted petitions to UN office in their respective areas, urging it to use its good offices to affect the release of all Bhutanese political prisoners.

There are some hundred political prisoners. The Royal Government of Bhutan had these brave men imprisoned from terms ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment for simply raising their voice demanding human rights and democracy, in the 1990s. In 2007, with the announcement of general elections in 2008 and the formation of two political parties, i.e., People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Phuentsum Tshogpa (DPT), people in Eastern Bhutan distributed leaflets, pamphlets and held meetings in the villages calling for the participation of DNC in the general elections. They were arrested, charged for sedition and sentenced to imprisonment from 3 years to 20 years. Similarly, the Lhotshampas also held meetings in the villages to canvass for the repatriation of their relatives from Nepal and the participation of exiled political parties in the general elections. Some 65 people were arrested, charged for sedition and sentenced to imprisonment from 3 years to life imprisonment.

All of these political prisoners had been imprisoned during the era of absolute Monarchy. Post 2008, the country has completed the transition to Constitutional Monarchy with the adoption of the Constitution. Their continued incarceration by the current “democratic government” shows that the current Government is no different from the erstwhile Government of the absolute Monarchy.


History Series
By R.K.Dorji

Many experts, according to their own reasoning, have written historical accounts of Bhutan. I will not be critical of their work, but want to add my own perspective on the history of our country.

Our country, Druk, had a 38,000 square mile landmass situated between Tibet in north and India in south. Some experts claim that natives of Bhutan originally migrated from either Burma or Tibet. To us, we have come from neither place. Our country existed as long as the Kamrup province of Assam and our roots are from Kamrup, Assam. The People of Eastern Bhutan share remarkable similarities with Bodos and Assamese. On the other hand, the eastern people also share some similarities with ethnic Burmese, but it is absolutely wrong to conclude that the eastern people’s roots are from Burma. The eastern people believe that they have descended from Aryan roots of India. In the west, the Naglong community share remarkable similarities with Tibetans. However, the Naglong community has inhabited the western region from time immemorial, like their eastern counterparts. When our country “Druk” was craved out, the north of our country became Tibet.

The eastern people inhabited the deep forests of the eastern Himalayas. The people worshiped nature, like big trees, stone etc. Some concluded that Bon culture arrived to these places from Tibet. We refute this inference. In history, all over the world, such practices were prevalent. If this argument is to be taken forward, then the Tibetan Bon culture must have spread to Africa as well.

There were already Buddhist temples in Bhutan before Guru Rinpoche’s visit. The Sindu Raja invited Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan in the 7th century. He blessed, strengthened and spread Buddhism in the country. Thereafter, several Buddhist sages visited Bhutan and strengthened Buddhism.

When Buddhism grew strong in Tibet, various sects of Buddhism reached western Bhutan. There was no strong king or chieftain. These religious lams established their mini-theocratic estates. Phajo Dugum Zhipo of the Drukpa Kagyurpa sect reached the west and established his estate. Lam of some five different sects had established their estates in western Bhutan. In the east, only the Nyingmapa sect flourished. Each lam with their distinct sect, ruled the country for some five to six hundred years. For example, some eight such kings ruled in Eastern Bhutan alone.
The Drukpa Kagyurpa sect was entrenched in west before the arrival of Zhabdrung Nagwang Namgyal in 1616. He however faced stiff competition from Lam Khanga and five different lamas. Even then, he prevailed, and his DrukpaKagyurpa sect became the dominant force in the west.
to be continued in the next issue

Retrospection of the First Three King of the Wangchuck Dynasty

From the arrival of Zhabdrung Nagwang Namgyal in 1616, to 1907 - almost 291 years, our country was ruled under the Cho-Sid-Nid System established by the Zhabdrung. Drukpa Kagyurpa was made the predominant religion in the country. He named the country “Druk”, thus the inhabitants “Drukpa”. Thereafter our country was known as Druk. The earlier name, Lhomon, disappeared.

From the time Trongsa Penlop, Ugyen Wandchuck, ascending the throne of Bhutan as its first hereditary monarch in 1907, his decedents right up to the 5th King, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, has ruled our country for 103 years.

Both the 1st King, UgyenWangchuk, and the 2nd King, Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country efficiently. Both didn’t differentiate between the peoples on religion grounds. Instead, the Ka-Nying tradition was promoted, persevered, and it flourished. People served the nation by paying taxes in kind. Large scale development programmes were absent. However, both repaired old monasteries and dzongs. Some roads and bridges for the efficient communication of government and people were constructed. The country was peace and stable.

The 3rd King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, became King in 1952. He discontinued the old traditions and systems. From 1953, the country under him saw monumental changes. At the winter capital, Punakha, he assembled the representatives of the people of Lho Mon Kha Zhi and initiated the first National Assembly session in 1953. He declared that our country’s policies would be formulated after the discussion with the peoples’ representatives. His very first work was the decree that all the people of Bhutan are equal and subjects of the King. He abolished the serf, slavery and caste system.

Prior to his enthronement in 1952, our country and its people were divided among the nobility. For example, the people of Kheng, Kurtoe, and most of Eastern Bhutan belonged to Wangling Suma. The other estates were Pelgri Suma, Choden Suma, Kushok Suma. While in the west, most people were Lamai Drapa’s slaves and drapas. In the south, the Lhotshampas belonged to Kalimpong-based Kazi Ugyen Dorji and his family. Some twenty thousand households were taxpayers, they were called Thelpas. The 3rd King announced that no one in the country will either be called serfs or slaves. He declared that everyone is equal and each and every one is the subject of King and all are Drukpas.

Every Bhutanese paid taxes in kind to the Government. After 1964, the taxes in kind were replaced with money. The taxation system exported from India was introduced. It was called Ja-Thrim. Land measurement in acres was also initiated. Domestic animals were enumerated. This monetary system was first introduced in Tashigang. It took almost four years to implement the new taxation system through the country.

Large-scale development programmes were initiated. For the protection and justice of the common people, a new comprehensive law was enacted. Our country indeed had a law code established by the Zhabdrung in the 17th century, which is called Michoe Tsangma Chudrug, and mostly related to the conducts of monks. For 315 years, this law was applied in our country. From 1958, the 3rd King brought out Thrim Zhung Chenpo, with 17 articles. For fifty years, this law was applied in Bhutan until the adoption of the Constitution in 2008.

to be continued in the next series

Anti-Proselytization Law Adopted

The Bhutanese Parliament on 20th November, 2010, passed the anti-Proselytization law. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion as a fundamental right, but also defines any act of coercion and inducement as an offence. In consonance to this provision, the lawmakers amended the penal code. The offence of proselytization is classified as a misdemeanor and invites maximum of three years of imprisonment.

Karma Thegsum Dechenling Monastery Consecrated

On 13th October 2010, Karma Thegsum Dechenling Monastery at Barshong, Khaling, was consecrated. Ashi DekiYangzom Wangchuck, Home Minister, Minjur Dorji, the Chairman of the Royal Privy Council, Lyonpo Chenkyap Dorji, the Cabinet Secretary, Dasho Tashi Phuntsho and Thrangu Rinpoche were present during consecration ceremony. This must be viewed as a positive move by the Government.

The Karma Thegsum Dechenling Monastery is the seat of the Karma Kagyurpa sect, and had received the blessing of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa OgyenTrinley Dorje Rinpoche. Among the twelve Kagyu sects, the other ten sects will also surely follow suit and try to set up centres in Bhutan.

The 2nd King had built the Tashi Choling(Domkhar) palace in Bhumthang for wife, Ashi Phuntso Choden. The 3rd King, shifted the seat of power from Bhumthang to Punakha in 1953, and then to Thimphu. In 1968, the 16th Karmapa was invited to Bhutan and Tashi Choling Palace was offered to him. He was also offered land and buildings in Tashigang, Samdrupjongkhar, Gelegphug, Phuntsholing and Thimphu. In Tashi Choling, the Karmapa set up a monastery. Later during the time of 4th King, the Government bought back Tashi Choling and removed the monastery. In Kurtoe too, Jhangchup Chholing, which had been set up in the Nyingthik tradition, was first converted to Karma Kamsang and thereafter to Drukpa Kagyu.

In the 1990s, the 4th King had had closed and converted almost 16 Nyingmpa learning centres and monasteries into Drukpa Kagyupa centers. The recent being that of Yongla Gonpa in 2007.

Bhutan has been from its very beginning following the KaNying tradition. Nyingma, together with the Drukpa Kagyu, is rooted in Bhutan’s religious tradition and history, and also takes a very important place in the hearts of a majority of the Bhutanese. It is only right that all the monasteries and centres that have been converted be restored to its original traditions.

If the Karma Kagyupa Sect could be restored once again in eastern Bhutan, we hope that this indicates that the Nyingmapa monasteries will be restored to its previous status as well.

Mr. R.K.Dorji’s interview with Mr T.P.Mishra, Bhutanese Media Society, is reproduced below:

BNS: How do you evaluate the “state of human rights” in Bhutan, especially aftermath of 2008 general election in the country?
RKD: The real sense of human rights exists only on paper post 2008. The regime applies human rights discriminately. The human right is upheld if it pleases. However we have to admit slight lee way is granted in terms of freedom of press. The real sense of democracy is absent, so the real sense of human rights is also absent.

BNS: Why do you think Bhutan has been always successful in convincing the world communities that there is ‘improving situation’ of human rights and democracy despite the truth being the otherwise?
RKD: In modern world economic motives determine the nature of relationship. Outsiders have so far only observed the good thing in country. This must have shaped their flaw picture of country. The army, state machinery and money are with king so he seems successful. In addition, international communities have to deal with him whether you like it or hate it for the larger interest of Bhutanese citizens. His success is temporary.

BNS: In one sense, whatever the comments from exiled groups, parties or individuals be, the situation in Bhutan is little different. People inside the country are silent and that they are happy with what’s been prevailing there. Why it concerns so much to exiled Bhutanese when it comes to “democracy” and “human rights” in their country?
RKD: The grass root people are ignorant of democracy and human rights knowledge. So far some fifty thousand people who enjoy the state privileges believe that democracy exist in the country. As the democracy knowledge is ingrained into Bhutanese society, people will automatically come forward to campaign for genuine democracy and Human rights.
Exile people are fortunate to have experience the democratic cultures in their refuge country. Because of these exposure and experience, to exiles, the democracy is a basic requirement to lead the respectable life.

BNS: Of late you have been consented to lead the “struggle for democracy” by three major exiled forces—Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee, Bhutan People’s Party and Bhutan National Democratic Party. Tell us about your new road map.
RKD: Our road map is illustrated in five points that we have announced during joint press conference. Our objective is to hold meeting with Government of Nepal, Bhutan and India in realizing the five points which are as follows:
Five points are:
- The exiled political parties and the exiled Bhutanese must be permitted to participate in the forth-coming elections.
- The Bhutanese refugees must be repatriated with honour and dignity, and must be allowed to participate in the political process. To call upon the international community to pressurize Bhutan to take back its citizens.
- The immediate unconditional release of all the political prisoners in Bhutan who have been in prisons since the early 1990s.
- To promote and strengthen the existing bonds of friendship at the people to people level among the citizens of Bhutan, India, and Nepal, which hasn’t been promoted to the desired level thus far.
- To extend thanks to the international community and all well-wishers of the Bhutanese democratic struggle and seek continued support and solidarity.

BNS: The exile activism for genuine democracy in Bhutan has never received convincing support and solidarity from the international communities. What is your logic that now your leadership will gain momentous support and solidarity so that the struggle takes a good height?
RKD: Our demand for democracy is genuine. Besides the international community also want to see genuine democracy taking roots in Bhutan. I therefore expect India and Nepal to counsel Bhutan to resolved exile Bhutanese issues.
Bhutanese have now spread throughout the globe. All wanted genuine democracy to take deep roots in Bhutan. We need to work together to realize the aforementioned five points. Besides, we are hopeful that international communities will support our initiatives to utilize of small opening that we saw in Bhutan since 2008. We will take the confidence of India in our works. For that, we will meet the government functionary and political leaders in India. Our country and India enjoys special friendship and each other destiny in 21st century is intertwined. My main thrust of work involves India.

BNS: But, in one sense you have even failed to garner government support and solidarity from India, where you have been taking shelter for years?
RKD: The atmosphere of 1997 and 2010 is different. You have failed to observe my nature of shelter in India. I was undergoing trail and the open support to me was inappropriate.
But in retrospection, I see that India had supported me. I owe gratitude and indebtedness to India. I was not extradited to Bhutan. Now I am able to campaign for democracy and human rights. The support is one thing, working is another. We all must work towards genuine democratization of Bhutan. We must cook food ourselves for our own eating.

: What positive and welcoming changes have you noticed so far in Bhutan since the country stepped into “democratization process” beginning 2008?
RKD: The positive change is that we see an absolute Monarchy being replaced by Constitutional Monarchy. The democratic institution of parliament, Supreme Court, etc has been displayed to world community. However, the intrinsic power continues to rest with King.

BNS: What needs to be changed further then?

RKD: The institution of democratic set up has up in Bhutan. We irrespective of our stay in exile or inside country must struggle together to bring genuine changes tearing current façade of “democracy”. Change is inevitable in life. But we must work together to bring this inevitable changes favorable to us.