The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Prime Minister says No Repatriation of the people he evicted

video

Will the present Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley ever agree to repatriate the people he evicted.



PROCEEDINGS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE 70TH SESSION OF THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY OF BHUTAN 8th October, 1991.


IV. THE ANTI-NATIONAL PROBLEM IN SOUTHERN BHUTAN
From the second day of its 70th Session, the National Assembly deliberated on the
problems created by the anti-national uprising in southern Bhutan. The representatives
of the public of the 18 Dzongkhags put forth several proposals towards overcoming
these problems and restoring peace and tranquility in the country once again. During the
deliberations, the representatives of the Government, the Monk Body and the Public
were all unanimous and singleminded in expressing the need to take every measure
necessary to safeguard the security, sovereignty and well-being of the Kingdom of the
Palden Drukpa.
The members recalled that past Bhutanese generations had made great sacrifices in
safeguarding the security and well-being of the Bhutanese nation. Showing true
patriotism and dedication, they had even risked their lives in several wars fought with
the Tibetans and the British to protect the sovereignty of the country, and had passed
down to their future generations the proud legacy of a sovereign, independent nation
with a unique national identity. For many generations, said the members, the Kingdom
of Bhutan had enjoyed peace, tranquility and happiness through the blessings and
protection of our Guardian Deities, the merits and wisdom of our Kings and the good
fortune, loyalty, dedication and unity of the people.
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The People’s Representatives pointed out that the Nepalese were recent immigrants who
had come to work on the land in the foothills of Bhutan. From the very beginning they
had taken advantage of the Royal Government by violating the laws of the land and
bringing in relatives and fellow Nepalese to settle illegally in Bhutan. They also
illegally occupied large tracts of government land and resorted to various means such as
illegal registration in census records to increase the Nepalese population in southern
Bhutan.
Despite these illegal actions on their part, the Royal Government had always shown
tolerance and generosity towards the Nepalese in southern Bhutan. They were given
more land than the original Bhutanese and provided with employment and good
economic opportunities. Southern Bhutan was given preferential treatment in all
development programmes and the Southern Bhutanese enjoyed greater benefits in
education and employment in government service, including appointment to very senior
and important posts.
At a time when the whole country was fully involved in further promoting its
development process for the greater prosperity of the people, and when the nation was
already beginning to reap the fruits of thirty years of development, the government and
people of Bhutan were shocked and dismayed by the anti-national uprising in southern
Bhutan. Starting with the distribution of subversive literature in 1988, the anti-national
activities culminated with outright rebellion against the TSA-WA-SUM in the 5
Dzongkhags and 1 Dungkhag of southern Bhutan in September-October, 1990.
The Assembly members observed the following pattern in the anti-national uprising:
a) The ngolops began by viciously maligning the rich religious and cultural heritage
of Bhutan. They deliberately attacked the policy of national integration through
the promotion of Driglam Namzha and the national dress and language to create
misunderstanding between the people and the government, and communal discord
among the people of northern and southern Bhutan.
b) They tried to undermine the excellent state of Indo-Bhutan relations through
malicious allegations of Indians being mistreated in Bhutan although the very
baselessness of their charges failed to win them any sympathy or support except
from the local Nepali population across the border. They also tried to win
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international sympathy and support for their activities by making wild allegations
of human rights violation by the Royal Government.
c) At the same time, the ngolops started terrorist activities that began with threats,
extortion, and robbery but soon graduated to kidnappings, rape and murder. They
destroyed many basic service facilities in southern Bhutan such as schools,
hospitals and bridges built at great cost by the government for the benefit of the
Southern Bhutanese themselves. They totally disregarded the fact that the
government had developed more service facilities in southern Bhutan than in any
other part of the country.
d) After the violent uprising in the 5 Dzongkhags and 1 Dungkhag of southern Bhutan
last year, the anti-nationals continued to carry out large scale acts of terrorism and
had not relented in their efforts to destabilise the country and achieve their
subversive goals.
As the anti-nationals in southern Bhutan had shown their total lack of appreciation for
everything the Royal Government had done for them and were instead bent on
subverting the future security and well-being of the TSA-WA-SUM, the National
Assembly deliberated on the following proposals to remove the ngolop problem once
and for all.
1. Eviction of ngolops
Twenty proposals on the eviction of anti-nationals were put forth by the representatives
of 79 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Samdrupjongkhar, Haa, Tongsa, Tashigang,
Samchi, Chirang, Sarbhang, Dagana and Mongar, and the representatives of the Monk
Body and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The People’s Representatives of Haa, Tongsa and Tashigang proposed that all
individuals involved in anti-national activities should be evicted from the country.
Other members proposed that some distinction should be made as all Southern
Bhutanese would not be anti-nationals. In this regard one of the Royal Advisory
Councillors from southern Bhutan requested that only those who were involved in antinational
activities be evicted and their relatives dealt with as per the Law of the Land.
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However, most members held the view that no distinction should be made whatsoever
and that all Southern Bhutanese should be evicted. They also recommended that this
should be applicable to all Southern Bhutanese working in the government and even to
those Southern Bhutanese married to original Bhutanese. The Chimis of
Samdrupjongkhar and Haa proposed that even if one individual from a household was
involved in anti-national activities, the whole family should be evicted including those
in government service.
The People’s Representative from Chirang proposed that if a head of a family
absconded from the country and was found to have joined the anti-nationals, the names
of all his family members should be struck off the Census Records, and the family
evicted and their property confiscated by the government. He stated that such an action
was required as otherwise there was every possibility of the ngolop’s family members
supporting the anti-nationals. In the event that members of the household, other than
the head of the family, absconded from the country, he proposed that only the names of
the persons concerned should be removed from the census and their property
confiscated as the other family members could still be loyal citizens.
The Chimi from Sarbhang Dzongkhag stated that if the head of the family was involved
in anti-national activities, the whole family should be evicted. If such severe actions
were not taken, anti-national activities would continue. This would not only endanger
the life and property of the local people but also pose a great threat to the security and
stability of the country.
In this regard, the People’s Representative from Sibsoo Dungkhag expressed his deep
disappointment and disgust at the fact that many people who had been educated by the
government at great cost, and even sent for higher studies abroad and given important
positions in the government, had joined the anti-nationals instead of showing
appreciation and gratitude to the government. These people had not only attempted to
create misunderstanding between the government and the public but had also tried to
destroy the excellent relations between Bhutan and its neighbouring countries. As such,
it had become impossible for the loyal citizens of southern Bhutan to tolerate the
activities of such people. The public were, therefore, ready to fight these anti-nationals
and requested the government to grant permission to the loyal citizens to fight them. He
also reported that the family members of many anti-nationals were still in the country
and mingled freely with the loyal citizens. He said that such inter-actions were not
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desirable as it would have many adverse effects. The presence of such people were also
making it difficult for the government and local officials to have free and frank
discussions during public meetings as the relatives of the anti-nationals attending these
meetings were supplying information to the ngolops. The People’s Respresentative of
Sibsoo, therefore, proposed that all family members of anti-nationals should be evicted
from the country.
The People’s Representatives from Tsangkhar Gewog of Dagana Dzongkhag submitted
that the anti-national uprising in southern Bhutan had hampered all development in the
country. He stated that he could not understand how people like R.B. Basnet, ex-
Managing Director of the State Trading Corporation of Bhutan and Bhim Subba, ex-
Director General of the Power Department, in whom His Majesty the King had reposed
full trust and confidence, could misappropriate government funds on such a large scale
and seek political asylum in Nepal. He also failed to understand how the Nepalese
Government could provide support to such corrupt officials and suggested that in line
with this action, the Government of Nepal should be requested to take over all the other
anti-nationals in the country.
Likewise, the member from Dagapela Dungkhag stated that the uprising in southern
Bhutan in September - October last year had posed a grave threat to the security of the
country. He too expressed his inability to understand how the Southern Bhutanese who
had been provided with good land and all the benefits of development could turn against
the TSA-WA-SUM. He proposed that all Southern Bhutanese who had taken part in the
demonstrations at Damphu and Sunkosh along with those who had been collecting
donations for the anti-nationals should be evicted from the country. He assured the
Assembly that the public would extend full cooperation to the government in identifying
all such people. In the event, that these people were not evicted, they should be
punished strictly as per the Law of the Land, he said.
The People’s Representative from Chengmari submitted that until now people had not
been in a position to oppose the anti-nationals. As such, the government had to face
great difficulties in deploying security forces at considerable cost for ensuring the
security of the public. He said that the public had now taken a firm decision to protect
themselves from the anti-nationals as they had suffered considerably and had realized
that the anti-nationals were the enemies of the people. Therefore, the public were firm in
their desire to get rid of all the anti-nationals from their Dungkhag. The loyal citizens
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of Chengmari Dungkhag, he said, had no feelings of love and compassion for the antinationals
and their families. The people, therefore, requested the government to allow
the public to evict the anti-nationals and their families from the Dungkhag. The
representative said that for security reasons, the people also requested for permission to
regroup their villages together after evicting the anti-nationals and their families.
The Home Minister expressed his appreciation for the proposal of the People’s
Representatives from Sibsoo, Chengmari and Dagapela that henceforth the public would
on their own identify the anti-nationals and evict them from the country. Regarding the
regrouping of villages, he stated that there was no need to obtain separate permission to
do so as people were free to construct houses on their own land. However, he reminded
them that in order to facilitate the protection of lives and properties of the Southern
Bhutanese people, a circular seeking cooperation of the people to provide timely
information on anti-national activities to the security forces had been issued but that so
far no useful information or cooperation had been given by the public.
At this juncture, many representatives expressed grave doubts over the statements made
by the Southern Bhutanese representatives condemning the anti-nationals. They cited
examples of similar statements being made by the then representatives of southern
Bhutan during the 68th and 69th Sessions of the National Assembly. They said that
most of the previous representatives had subsequently had absconded and joined the
anti-nationals. They, therefore, demanded that the representatives from southern Bhutan
should make their positions very clear with regard to the punishment and eviction of
anti-nationals and the methodologies thereof.
In this regard, several Government Representatives brought the attention of the
Assembly to the non-discriminatory policy of His Majesty the King towards all his
subjects despite the anti-national uprising that had taken place in southern Bhutan.
Although they recognized that it would not be in keeping with His Majesty’s
magnanimous policy, these representatives felt that the time had now come to identify
the anti-nationals and evict them from the country. Under the circumstances prevailing
in southern Bhutan, the government should now act on the recommendations made by
the representatives of the people, they said.
His Majesty the King was pleased to recognise that the representatives of the
government, Dratshang and the public had brought up the proposal of evicting the anti26
nationals with the objective of safeguarding the security and well-being of the country.
His Majesty, however, pointed out that it would not be fair or useful at this stage to
press the representatives of the southern Dzongkhags to come up with a firm proposal
on the question of identifying anti-nationals and recommending suitable punishments
for them. It would be more appropriate if the representatives of southern Bhutan were
directed by the Assembly to submit their proposal on this issue during the next Session
of the National Assembly after holding extensive consultations and discussions with all
the people in the 56 gewogs of southern Bhutan and obtaining their views and
recommendations.
One of the Royal Advisory Councillors from southern Bhutan expressed his deep
appreciation to His Majesty the King for once again considering the issue
compassionately. He thanked His Majesty for giving the representatives an opportunity
to consult the public on the identification of anti-nationals and the punishment
recommended for them, including eviction, and then submitting their proposals to the
71st Session of the National Assembly.
The People’s Representatives from Pemagatshel, Punakha, Tashi Yangtse and
Bumthang while respecting the suggestion made by His Majesty the King, stated that by
and large they had lost faith in the people of southern Bhutan and that delaying
decisions on the punishment and eviction of anti-nationals might not be in the best
interest of the country.
In conclusion, the National Assembly resolved, as recommended by His Majesty the
King, that the public of the five Dzongkhags and one Dungkhag covering the 56 gewogs
of southern Bhutan would submit a comprehensive Genja (written and signed
undertaking) to the 71st Session of the National Assembly on the punishment, including
eviction, that should be awarded to the anti-nationals involved in ngolop activities.
2. Application of the Law against the ngolops
The People’s Representatives of 59 gewogs in the Dzongkhags of Paro, Punakha,
Samdrupjongkhar, Chirang, Lhuntshi, Chukha, Tashigang, Pemagatshel, Thimphu and
Dagana presented 16 points as listed in the Agenda on the subject of imposing strict
punishment on the ngolops without any relaxation of the Law. They argued that the
ngolops had committed many criminal acts aimed at destroying the peace, security and
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well-being of the peace loving Bhutanese people. They had caused irreparable damage
and loss to both the government and people by destroying many basic service facilities
like, schools, hospitals, bridges and roads that had been established by the Royal
Government for the benefit of the people. They had deprived the people of their sense
of security over life and property through their relentless acts of robbery, rape,
abduction, murder and barbaric terrorism.
They pointed out that had the ngolops been brought before justice they would have been
found guilty of crimes deserving capital punishment in many cases and life
imprisonment in most others. Yet, on purely compassionate and humanitarian grounds,
His Majesty the King and the Royal Government had granted amnesty to many of the
ngolops who were still unrepentant. Instead of being grateful and living peacefully as
loyal citizens, they had abused the amnesty and rejoined the ngolops in their terrorist
activities. The representatives, therefore, demanded that, in order to fully eliminate the
anti-national activities, the Thrimshung Chhenpo (Law of Bhutan) should be applied
strictly and that no further amnesties should be granted.
The Royal Advisory Councillors and many other representatives of the people and
government officials stated that Bhutan was a country where every subject was equal
before the Law and the King and the Law and that the Bhutanese had always been law
abiding citizens with each citizen contributing his/her share to the peace and stability of
the country. Leaving aside the inconceivable crime of treason against the TSA-WASUM,
every Bhutanese guilty of the smallest infractions of the law had always been
certain of just punishment, be it a case of petty theft, slander or falsification. They
maintained that the crimes of the ngolops were clearly aimed at destroying the country’s
socio-economic infrastructure, sowing seeds of sedition and causing communal violence
in our harmonious society. It was with such intentions that the ngolops had unleashed a
spate of terrorism mixed with common robbery and shameless, inflammatory
propaganda against the people of Bhutan and the spiritual and political purity of the
country.
The Chimis of Sephu, Kashi, Darkar, Talo and Nawang under Wangdiphodrang
Dzongkhag voiced their inner sentiments and declared that until now, not only had a
single ngolop criminal not been subjected to capital punishment or even life
imprisonment, but that it had greatly disheartened and saddened the people to see that
while the law was applied fully to loyal and law abiding citizens it was not being
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applied to the ngolops. They appealed that in the larger interest of the nation, the laws
of the land should be strictly applied in all cases, and that the ngolops should be
punished severely in accordance with their individual crimes without conceding any
form of relaxation.
The People’s Representative of Chirang took the floor at this point and expressed the
deep gratitude of the people of Chirang Dzongkhag for the clemencies granted to the
Lhotshampas, and submitted that, henceforth, anyone guilty of inciting the people with
the intent of bringing harm upon the TSA-WA-SUM should suffer capital punishment
without benefit of clemency while all those who participated in any anti-national
activity should be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Other Chimis joined in the deliberations by proposing that the few core ngolops who
were under detention should not enjoy the pleasure of free food and lodging at
government cost, but that they should be put to socially productive use through
employment in activities such as road construction. Several representatives
recommended that while all the ngolops must be brought before justice without
exception, any Southern Bhutanese found guilty of impersonation or falsification of
census records should be punished as per the national Citizenship Act just like any other
Bhutanese in other regions.
Many members drew attention to the growing public opinion that, inspite of there being
a penalty/punishment for every category of crime in accordance with the Law of
Bhutan, the Royal Government had not taken any action against the ngolops for their
treacherous crimes. They felt that the laws against treason only existed in writing as the
punishments were not being implemented by the government. They observed that there
were many people who believed that the continued anti-national activities were a direct
outcome of the government’s weakness in applying the Law. They, therefore, stated
that it was imperative to apply the law firmly against any person guilty of unlawful
actions against the TSA-WA-SUM.
Having taken the floor at this juncture, the Home Minister recalled that, with regard to
the views and opinions of the members on the subject of punishing the ngolops as per
the law, the Home Ministry had clearly briefed the Assembly during its 69th Session on
the reasons why His Majesty the King had granted clemency to the ngolops. He
announced that, although it had been resolved then that the ngolops should be dealt with
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in accordance with the Law of Bhutan, His Majesty the King had been pleased to grant
clemency five times, covering a total of 813 ngolops since then.
The Minister explained that His Majesty the King had granted amnesty keeping in mind
the long term interest of the country’s peace and security and that it was not done
merely on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. He clarified that it was in keeping
with the articles under OM-A-HUNG in the preamble of the Law of Bhutan, that His
Majesty exercised the sovereign prerogative of granting clemency. He, therefore,
declared that there was no reason why His Majesty the King should not continue to
grant clemencies/pardons as and when His Majesty deemed it appropriate.
The Foreign Minister and the Minister of Social Services and Communications stated
that, among other reasons, His Majesty the King had acted in the interest of Bhutan’s
image and that His Majesty had also consulted with the many officials and Royal
Advisory Councillors, who were members of the National Assembly as well as the
Cabinet, on the subject of granting amnesty. They added that the provisions in the Law
of Bhutan as clarified by the Home Minister were well known to every member and that
they fully respected the exercise of this sovereign prerogative on the basis of merit and
justifications.
In response, the representatives were unanimous in submitting that they had never
harboured the slightest doubt in the actions of His Majesty the King from the very
beginning and that they would continue to support whole-heartedly all the actions and
decisions taken by His Majesty for the well-being of the country. They further
submitted that the evil and treacherous actions of the ngolops had greatly disturbed their
minds and caused such anguish that they had to take the opportunity to clear their deep
concerns, especially their conviction that subjection of a few ngolops to the severest
form of lawful punishment would have a sobering and pacifying effect on all other antinationals
in southern Bhutan.
At this point, one of the Royal Advisory Councillors from southern Bhutan conveyed
the deepest gratitude of the Lhotshampas for the unconditional clemencies that were
being granted even though the law, as enacted in 1959, and covering the imposition of
severe punishment for activities against the TSA-WA-SUM, was clearly enshrined in
article 17 and section 1 to 11 of the Law of Bhutan. He went on to submit his personal
view on the subject of punishment for ngolops by recommending that those found guilty
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should be given a prison term between one year to 10 years or 14 years depending on
the degree of their crime.
Several members entered the debate to warn that the ngolops, upon availing clemency,
were returning to their villages and inciting the people and fanning regional and
communal feelings by insinuating that the Royal Government indulged in
discrimination. They maintained that such attempts had been made by the anti-nationals
from the very beginning and feared that their capacity to do so may have been
unwittingly strengthened by the government. They pressed for firm and severe measures
on the Lhotshampa community before the problem assumed larger and more dangerous
proportions.
The Chimis from Pemagatshel, Mongar and Dagana reiterated the fact that even under
normal circumstances, even the most minor offence brought a just punishment upon the
perpetrator, irrespective of whether the case was decided at the lowest court of law, the
High Court or on appeal even by His Majesty the King. They stated that it was
incumbent upon them as representatives of the people to obtain clarifications in the
National Assembly on why the ngolops who had committed the vilest crime of high
treason against the TSA-WA-SUM enjoyed clemency. Convinced of the wisdom of the
ancient adage which advised that “a fire should be snuffed out before it becomes an
inferno” and to “rid the infant enemy before he became a menacing giant”, they urged
that, for the sake of national security, the country should not hesitate to let the sword of
justice fall on the neck that carried the devil’s head.
His Majesty the King expressed his understanding and respect for the position of the
people and the convergence of perceptions and opinions of all the members on the issue
under discussion. There was good reason behind their request to the Royal Government
to punish the ngolops in strict accordance with the Law of Bhutan upon their being
found guilty. However, if the people all truly believed that it was imperative to not only
overcome the current problem from the ngolops but to prevent it from ever surfacing
again to haunt posterity, His Majesty asserted that it was essential that the people
reposed in him their full trust and confidence and the total responsibility to achieve this
end. The willingness of the people to understand and accept the reasons for granting
amnesty to ngolops in future, should the cause arise, would help substantially in the
pursuit of the ultimate solution. His Majesty confirmed that the granting of clemency to
the 813 ngolops had not been an act of compassion or humanitarian persuasion alone,
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but a decision that was inspired by his deep-seated commitment to uproot the very cause
of the current problem so that the peace, security and sovereignty of the Palden Drukpa
would never again be threatened.
The representatives of the people responded that the ultimate burden of responsibility
for ensuring Bhutan’s security and sovereignty had always rested fully on the strong and
capable shoulders of His Majesty the King. They offered their deepest gratitude to His
Majesty for his heart warming assurances and for assuming the full responsibility of
bringing about a lasting solution to the ngolop problem. Towards this end, the people
offered their unwavering and unconditional support to His Majesty the King .
Upon the conclusion of the lengthy deliberations on the subject of applying the law of
the Land strictly to the ngolops and the granting of amnesty, the National Assembly
noted that the ngolops had not only abused the trust, compassion and magnanimity of
the King and the People, but had, without any cause and provocation, committed many
treacherous crimes of treason against the TSA-WA-SUM. The Assembly resolved that
the Royal Government should bring these criminals and terrorists to justice and award
them the severest form of punishment including life imprisonment and capital
punishment. In doing so, due weightage and consideration must be given to the long
term security and well-being of the country as well as to the Law of the Land and the
resolutions of the National Assembly.
On the subject of granting amnesty, it was unanimously resolved by all the
representatives of the Clergy, the Government and the People, that His Majesty the
King should continue to exercise the sovereign prerogative of granting clemency as
enshrined in the Law of Bhutan in its preamble under the articles, OM-A-HUNG.
3. Extradition of ngolops and discussion with neighbouring countries on this point.
The people’s representatives of 43 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Thimphu,
Tashigang, Wangdiphodrang, Bumthang, Lhuntshi, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Dagana,
Haa and Chukha, and the representatives of the Monk Body and the Bhutan Chamber of
Commerce and Industry categorically stated that the anti-nationals who had run away to
India and Nepal should be extradited and that the matter should be taken up with the
neighbouring countries concerned to minimise the problems brought about by these
ngolops.
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Eighteen proposals in this regard were put forth. The members pointed out that the antinationals
and their supporters had turned against the TSA-WA-SUM and were working
on destabilizing the Government. They said that most of these anti-nationals were
people who had been educated by the government, and given preferential treatment in
employment and promotions and that some of them had been trusted senior officials.
Instead of being grateful to their King, Government and Country, they had risen against
the TSA-WA-SUM, and absconded from the country on the pretext of the government
having adopted discriminatory policies on religion, language, customs and tradition.
From their bases outside the country the anti-nationals had been continuously carrying
out robbery, arson, kidnapping, murder and other terrorist activities.
The People’s Representatives felt that since the anti-nationals were operating from
outside the country, such acts could even affect the good relations with the neighbouring
countries.
In view of these considerations, the representatives strongly felt that the Royal
Government should hold discussions with the governments of the countries where these
anti-nationals were taking shelter and make efforts to at least extradite the leaders of the
anti-nationals. Many Chimis were unanimous in expressing the need to particularly
extradite R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba, of the STCB and the Department of Power
respectively, for trial as per the Laws of the Land.
Some members, while fully recognising the excellent state of Indo-Bhutan relations,
expressed doubts on the effectiveness of the extradition agreement between the two
countries. The Chimis from Wangdiphodrang, Punakha and Tashigang said they were
disturbed by the support extended to the anti-nationals by the local Nepali population
across the border as these people might even attempt to damage the excellent relations
between the two neighbouring countries. Other members proposed that the Government
of India should be requested to ensure that the anti-nationals did not carry out terrorist
activities against Bhutan from their soil.
Similarly, members from Lhuntshi, Pemagatshel and Bumthang felt that, if necessary,
Bhutan as a member of SAARC should take up the extradition of the anti-nationals
during SAARC meetings with the governments concerned.
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In response, the Foreign Minister expressed appreciation for the concern shown by the
public for the security of the country. He said that Indo-Bhutan friendship had been
growing from strength to strength over the years and this close relationship had reached
new heights during His Majesty’s reign. He also said that with regard to the problems
posed by the anti-nationals, the Royal Government had been receiving total support and
sympathy from the Central Government in India. The Chief Minister of West Bengal
had also assured the Royal Government that he would not allow the anti-nationals to
carry out terrorist operations against Bhutan from their soil and had made this position
publicly known through the Indian newspapers.
Despite India’s big population and innumerable internal problems and the problem of
distinguishing the Southern Bhutanese anti-nationals from the Nepalese people of
Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the Duars, the Indian Police had apprehended some of the
anti-nationals and recovered a number of vehicles hijacked by them. The Indian Police
in Assam and West Bengal had extended their full cooperation and support. Frequent
consultations at the district level were also being held between the representatives of the
West Bengal Government and the Royal Government to discuss issues related to the
anti-national problem.
The Foreign Minister further clarified the doubts expressed by some of the People’s
Representatives on the anti-nationals operating from Indian soil. He stated that in view
of the close relationship between the two countries there had always been close
understanding and mutual support for each other. He stated that he had no doubt
whatsoever of receiving India’s full and continued support in tackling the anti-national
problem. He said that though there was an Extradition Treaty between Bhutan and
India, while implementing it there were some problems due to procedural formalities
which had to be carried out. The two governments were working towards overcoming
these problems.
The Minister also said that Bhutan being a signatory to the SAARC Regional
Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism had to enact a legislation on the
suppression of terrorism and also to enact a Bhutan Extradition Act. These two Acts, if
passed by the National Assembly when put forth by the Ministry of Home Affairs,
would greatly facilitate the extradition of criminals and terrorists.
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The Foreign Minister stated that in the past there had never been any problems in
relations between Bhutan and Nepal. However, as the members might be aware, the
anti-nationals who had absconded from the country and sought asylum in Nepal had
received the full support of the political parties and people of Nepal. As such, he felt
that it would be difficult to extradite these anti-nationals and also to recover the money
and property stolen by them.
The Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army, Goongleon Gongma Lam
Dorji stated that the representatives of the public need not be concerned about Indo-
Bhutan relations. From the Army’s point of view, the Government of India despite their
own problems, had extended full cooperation and generous assistance to Bhutan.
Security was being provided to Bhutanese officials and the public travelling through
Indian territory. Incidents of robbery and hijacking of vehicles had taken place now and
then because the drivers or owners of these vehicles had failed to inform the Royal
Bhutan Police about their movement and, therefore, security by the Indian Police could
not be arranged. He said that the cooperation and friendship between the Indian Army
and the Royal Bhutan Army was excellent, and that the Indian Army was providing
generous and valuable financial and logistic assistance to the Royal Bhutan Army. He
also expressed his deep appreciation for the valuable assistance rendered to the RBA by
IMTRAT.
Many representatives expressed their happiness with the excellent state of Indo-Bhutan
relations and their appreciation for the assistance and support provided by the
Government of India with regard to the ngolop problem. They also expressed their
hope that this support would be continued in the future. They felt that though India was
a big and powerful country and Bhutan a small neighbour, the excellent relations
between the two countries was a model of good neighbourliness and friendship in interstate
relations.
Many members expressed their deep appreciation for the unwavering support provided
by the Government of India at this critical time in Bhutan’s history.
His Majesty the King proposed that the National Assembly should adopt a resolution
recognizing the unfailing support which India had extended to Bhutan at a crucial time
and express the Assembly’s deep appreciation to the government and people of India for
their staunch friendship, goodwill and cooperation.
35
Thereafter, the representative of Wangdiphodrang stated that throughout history there
had never been any problems between Nepal and Bhutan and since Bhutan had helped
Nepal in its times of trouble in the past, he felt that the government should request for
the extradition of R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba. Others felt that rather than extraditing
the two officials, it might be better to recover the money and property stolen by them
through a court of law.
The Finance Minister stated that R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba had planned to abscond
from the country for some time and had therefore flagrantly stolen considerable
amounts of money from the government. He stated that it was immediately after the
Royal Audit issued notifications for the auditing of the STCB and the Department of
Power, that R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba had absconded from the country.
Subsequently, when the auditing started, and fearing detection, a large number of other
Southern Bhutanese officials from these departments also absconded. In order to make
detection difficult they had deliberately not maintained the accounts properly. Writing
pads, cash receipts and cash memos of 19 outside firms had been found in their offices
and residence. The auditing was yet to be completed but the preliminary report showed
that R.B.Basnet had stolen money, misused authority and committed other serious
irregularities that brought about a loss of over Nu.50 million to the Government.
Similarly, Bhim Subba had also stolen money and committed other irregularities
bringing about a loss of over Nu. 30 million to the Government. Between the two of
them, they had brought about a loss of over Nu.80 million to the government. The
Finance Minister stated that in his opinion the Royal Government should take all
possible steps to recover the stolen funds.
Thereafter, some members stated that the anti-nationals had been consistently accusing
the Royal Government of violating human rights. They questioned whether acts of
robbery, arson, kidnapping, murder, torture, rape and stealing money in terms of
millions was in keeping with human rights. They stated that these crimes should be
widely publicized by the government.
In this regard, the Minister of Trade and Industries stated that His Majesty the King had
reposed full trust in R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba and had not only promoted them but
had also given them charges of important Departments. As stated in the Finance
Minister’s report, they had brought about huge losses to the government and as such the
36
Foreign Ministry should work on extraditing them even if there was no extradition
treaty between Nepal and Bhutan. While he was not aware of the reasons for the
Nepalese Government supporting these two officials, it was clear that they had
absconded as criminals and not on political grounds. As such, every step should be
taken to extradite them. If this was not possible they should be charged in a court of
law.
Many members repeated that the anti-nationals led by R.B.Basnet and Bhim Subba had,
instead of being grateful to the country, turned against the TSA-WA-SUM and brought
about huge losses amounting to over Nu.80 million to the government and people of
Bhutan. As such, the Royal Government, in consultation with the Nepalese
Government, should work on extraditing these officials and punishing them as per the
Laws of the Land.
Many members felt that if no action was taken against these officials despite their
serious crimes, there would be a great risk of many more such cases taking place and
huge losses inflicted to the government and people of Bhutan. Therefore, it was
important to take all necessary measures to extradite the two criminals and try them in a
court of law. If the Nepalese Government knew that these officials had absconded as
criminals and not on political grounds, there would be no reason for them not to hand
these criminals over to the Royal Government. As such, it was suggested that the Royal
Government should take immediate action to pursue the matter with the Nepalese
Government.
The People’s Representatives from Dagana, Shemgang and Chukha questioned how it
could have been possible for the government to allow such large scale corruption by
Bhim Subba and R.B. Basnet to go undetected.
At this juncture, the Foreign Minister said that it was very important for all the members
to be aware of the true intentions and objectives of the anti-nationals. The anti-national
activities, he said, were not launched because of the national policy on dress, language,
custom and religion. These issues were used only as propaganda to malign the Royal
Government and to gain international sympathy and support. The anti-nationals had a
much more deep-seated, long term objective. Not satisfied that they were already a large
minority, they were continuously repeating that the Nepalese in Bhutan comprised 52 to
60 percent of the population and, therefore, the Nepalese constituted the majority of the
37
population. Simultaneously, they were calling for the introduction of multi-party
democracy. Their strategy was that once democracy was introduced they would be in a
position to form the government in Thimphu and take over the country. They, therefore,
wanted to rapidly increase their demographic size through illegal immigration. As such,
he said it was not difficult to understand why the Southern Bhutanese were always
finding different ways and means of bringing illegal of Nepali immigrants into the
country and why their population had been increasing by leaps and bounds.
To give the historical background, Sikkim which was immediately east of Nepal
strongly opposed induction of Nepalese settlers. The British, however, forcibly brought
Nepalese settlers into Sikkim for their own political reasons. In no time the Nepalese
population increased through high birth rate and through regular immigration from
Nepal and soon they formed 80% of the population. Today, as everyone is aware,
Sikkim is governed by the Nepalese majority and the original Sikkimese people are a
small minority in their own country.
In Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, which are further east of Sikkim, Nepalese
labourer were brought in by the British to work in the tea plantations. The Nepalese
population in these areas increased rapidly and today the Nepalese population was
totally dominates the tiny indigenous population of Lepchas and Sikkimese. The
eastward migration of the Nepalese, actively encouraged by the British, spread to the
foothills of Bhutan and the Bengal Duars and further eastwards to India’s northeast
region of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
It was not merely out of ethnic affinity that the political parties and people of Nepal
were supporting the anti-nationals of southern Bhutan, but more out of their deep-seated
desire to promote the concept of a Greater Nepal. This concept envisaged Nepalese
domination over the entire Himalayas by bringing Bhutan, parts of the Duars in West
Bengal and Assam and the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and
Nagaland under Nepalese control just as in the case of Sikkim and Darjeeling.
In view of this, the Foreign Minister said, it was far more important to understand the
deeper implications of the anti-national problem and the threat to the nation rather than
to concentrate on peripherial issues like the extradition of a few ngolops or the recovery
of stolen money. That was why, the Minister said, it was necessary to ensure that the
ngolop problem was removed once and for all if Bhutan is to remain a sovereign,
38
independent country. It was, therefore, of paramount importance that the government
and the people joined hands under to His Majesty the King’s leadership to remove
ngolop problem once and for all. If His Majesty’s farsighted policies on the ngolop
problem was given unstinted support by the people, a permanent solution was possible.
The representatives thanked the Foreign Minister for highlighting the long-term aims
and objectives of the anti-nationals. Many members, however, insisted that since there
were no problems with the Government of Nepal, the Royal Government should at least
work on extraditing R.B. Basnet and Bhim Subba, as they had committed serious
crimes, even if the other anti-nationals could not be extradited. Other members insisted
that even if the Royal Government was not able to extradite them, legal action should be
initiated against these criminals in a court of law.
The National Assembly decided that though the extradition of these two officials and
other anti-nationals leaders from Nepal was not important for the national security, it
was essential to make every effort to bring them back since they had committed serious
crimes in the country, and that they be tried and punished as per the Law. In the event
this was not possible, legal proceedings should be initiated against them. Towards this
the Foreign Ministry should take up the matter with its counterparts in the Nepalese
Government.
4 Holding of Important Posts and Sensitive Responsibilities by Lhotshampas
The representatives of 30 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Tongsa, Thimphu, Haa,
Bumthang, Paro, Lhuntshi and Tashigang, and the representatives of the Monk Body
and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry submitted nine proposals
recommending that Southern Bhutanese officials should no longer be appointed to
important posts or entrusted with sensitive responsibilities.
In March 1990, during the 69th Session of the National Assembly, the representatives of
the people of southern Bhutan in the Royal Advisory Council and in the National
Assembly had submitted that the anti-national uprising in southern Bhutan was
instigated by non-nationals and a few misguided anti-national elements, and that the
general public were not even aware of such activities. They had said that the people of
southern Bhutan had been greatly distressed and shamed by the anti-national activities
and had sought forgiveness from the Royal Government. They had given their complete
39
and full assurance that such subversive activities would not take place again. However
from September, 1990 onwards, large members of Southern Bhutanese people had
revolted violently against the TSA-WA-SUM.
In view of this, the members submitted that the people could no longer trust the
Southern Bhutanese. They stated that the Royal Government had not only educated the
Southern Bhutanese officials but had also employed them in the Civil Service in
important positions. In return, these ungrateful officials had betrayed the trust reposed in
them and taken up anti-national activities against TSA-WA-SUM. It would, therefore,
not be in the national interest to retain the services of such
people. The representatives proposed that all Southern Bhutanese officials should,
therefore, be relieved from government service.
The Chimis from Tashigang and Bumthang suggested that the immediate family
members and relatives of anti-nationals in government service should all be relieved
from service. Others proposed that only those government servants from southern
Bhutan who were loyal and had no connections with the ngolops should be allowed to
continue in service.
In this regard, the Secretary of the Royal Civil Service Commission reported that the
Commission shared the concerns of the members on having Southern Bhutanese
officials in the Civil Service under the present circumstances. Today, he stated, out of
12,023 civil servants, 5,383 (39.23%) were Southern Bhutanese. In the past six years,
out of 213 students sponsored for further studies in India alone, 127 (60%) were from
southern Bhutan. He went on to say that the government had educated these people with
the hope that they would serve the government and the people with loyalty and
devotion. The disappointment and misgivings of the government and the public were
therefore understandable as the main leaders and participants in the anti-national
activities were ex-civil servants. Till date, 349 Civil Servants had absconded and 26
Forest Guards and 99 Police and Army personnel had deserted and joined the ngolops.
During May, 1991, 10 senior Southern Bhutanese officials had absconded, and as all the
members were aware, most of them had sought asylum in Nepal, said the Secretary.
The Secretary of the RCSC submitted to the National Assembly that the Commission
had always had one uniform policy for all Bhutanese citizens and as such had provided
40
equal opportunities to all citizens in their training, appointments and promotions in the
civil service. Despite the uprising in southern Bhutan, the Royal Government had not
resorted to any discriminatory measures against the Southern Bhutanese civil servants.
All that the Commission had done was to introduce the requirement of a Police
clearance for processing training, appointments and promotions. This was applicable
equally to all Bhutanese and was felt necessary in order to prevent people having direct
connection with terrorists and ngolops from being appointed to sensitive posts.
However, while following this non-discriminatory policy, the government had to face
considerable risks and embarrassment both at home and abroad. Students sent for
studies abroad had turned against the government and in some cases had sought political
asylum in the host countries. Despite these risks and embarrassments, the Royal Civil
Service commission had still not changed its policy nor had it received any directives
from the government to do so. This, he said, reflected the very patient and tolerant stand
taken by the Royal Government towards the Lhotshampas under the benevolent
leadership of His Majesty the King.
However, as of now, this non-discriminatory policy had not been beneficial as could be
seen from the involvement of a large number of civil servants in anti-national activities,
the Secretary said.
The Secretary also submitted that it was now becoming increasingly difficult for the
Royal Civil Service Commission to give employment to Lhotshampas as the employing
agencies were reluctant to accept Lhotshampas. This situation had been further
aggravated after senior officials like Bhim Subba and R.B. Basnet, with their
subordinates and colleagues, had absconded from the country. The government
agencies were also becoming reluctant to process the training of Lhotshampas as they
were beginning to doubt the wisdom of such investments. it was becoming increasingly
more difficult to obtain their support in appointing and training Lhotshampa civil
servants as they had become wary of further cases of betrayal of trust by the
Lhotshampas. Moreover, the Royal Civil Service Commission could not compel these
government agencies to employ, train or promote Lhotshampas, for if that was done the
agencies would hold the Commission responsible in case such officials committed antinational
activities or financial irregularities and absconded from the country.
41
The Home Minister stated that the government officials fully shared the concern of the
public in this regard. While it was hoped that all Southern Bhutanese in government
service would serve with total loyalty, dedication and commitment, it was no longer
possible to gauge or state with certainty how they would actually conduct themselves in
the future.
The members stated that in keeping with the national policy of one country, one people,
the Lhotshampas had been given equal access to education, employment and
appointments to important posts. However, as the Lhotshampas had proved themselves
untrustworthy, all Lhotshampas in government service should be retired. While some
members were of the view that no Southern Bhutanese should be given important
responsibilities nor appointed to sensitive posts including posts involving financial
transactions, others expressed the need to undertake thorough screening before Southern
Bhutanese officials were promoted as otherwise there was every possibility of further
abuses of trust and confidence being repeated. Though the government had incurred
great cost in educating and training the Southern Bhutanese officials and had conferred
special treatment on them, they had shown no appreciation and gratitude whatsoever.
The Chimis from Thimphu, Paro and the Representative of the Bhutan Chamber of
Commerce and Industry expressed the need to stop further employment of Southern
Bhutanese and that those already employed should not receive any promotions until the
anti-national problem was removed.
At this point, His Majesty the King was pleased to inform the members that the Royal
Civil Service Commission had full powers and authority for appointments into the civil
service, training, promotions and imposition of penalties on civil servants as per the
Civil Service Rules and Regulations. As such, His Majesty the King proposed that the
Royal Civil Service Commission should be given the responsibility to closely study the
issues raised by the representatives of the public and to make necessary amendments in
the Civil Service Rules and Regulations with the objective of having an efficient and
dedicated civil service to serve the nation.
The Planning Minister informed the National Assembly that although His Majesty the
King was not a member, the Royal Civil Service Commission consisted of Ministers,
Representatives of the Royal Advisory Council and Secretaries of the Ministries. While
considering appointments of civil servants to various posts and promotions, the criteria
42
taken into consideration were qualification, experience, capability, dedication and
loyalty to the TSA-WA-SUM. There was no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of
race or creed. They informed the Assembly that the Commission was prepared to make
whatever ammendments were necessary in the Civil Service Rules and Regulations.
In response, the representatives stated that the Southern Bhutanese had greatly harmed
the national policy of one nation, one people and that the Lhotshampas were responsible
for dividing the country into two peoples viz. the Nepalese immigrants and the original
inhabitants. The representatives deeply regretted the harm caused by the Lhotshampas.
They submitted that while the original and true Bhutanese would always be loyal and
patriotic citizens, they now had serious reservations about the Lhotshampas who were
recent immigrants and had a totally different outlook and concept of loyalty and
dedication to the country. They requested the Royal Civil Service Commission to give
serious consideration to their proposals regarding the employment of Southern
Bhutanese in government service. The Commission should not take their proposals as
individual views but as the views of the large numbers of the Bhutanese people who
they represented in the Assembly.
At this juncture, one of the Royal Advisory Councillors of southern Bhutan stated that
the tragic and unexpected anti-national activities in southern Bhutan which had started
from 1989, had brought about considerable worries and sufferings that had made all
Bhutanese citizens very concerned. The Agenda of the 70th Session of the National
Assembly rightly focused mainly on the anti-national uprising in southern Bhutan. He
went on to state that since the Royal Advisory Councillors and People’s Representatives
from southern Bhutan had been silent during the debate on the anti-national uprising,
the members from different parts of the country who were concerned about the uprising
might have begun to doubt the position of the people of southern Bhutan.
He went on to say that the statements made by the Royal Advisory Councillors and the
representatives of the public from southern Bhutan, as recorded in Resolution No.3 of
the 69th Session of the National Assembly, that all the anti-nationals were not Southern
Bhutanese, had been proven incorrect by the mass anti-national demonstrations carried
out by the Southern Bhutanese towards the end of 1990.
Moreover, as highlighted by the resolutions of the 67th and 68th Sessions of the
National Assembly, the public of southern Bhutan had gone against their own
43
declaration of support and loyalty made to His Majesty the King during his tour of all
the Dzongkhags in southern Bhutan and his public meetings with representatives of
every household in the south. Contrary to their declaration, the people of southern
Bhutan had carried out unforgiveable acts against the country. He went on to say that
in order to find out what had prompted the people to carry out such acts, His Majesty
had conducted extensive tours of southern Bhutan during which he met villagers,
Village Elders, Village Headmen and National Assembly Members. In these meetings
His Majesty had explained at great length that for the sake of the security and wellbeing
of the country and the people, the Southern Bhutanese should not allow
themselves to be influenced by anti-national elements. It was a source of deep sadness
that despite His Majesty’s advice, the anti-national activities in southern Bhutan had
continued to take place. It was indeed a well known fact that the people of southern
Bhutan chose not to pay heed to the benevolent advise given by His Majesty and had
instead carried out anti-national activities, the Councillor said.
There was no denying that the government had more than amply met the needs of the
people on all fronts like education, training, economic development, building of
schools, roads, bridges etc. Nor could it be denied that the shocking act of betrayal and
uprising against the government had taken place in southern Bhutan. The people of
southern Bhutan were trying to identify those responsible for the anti-national uprising,
which he said had greatly harmed the people themselves.
The Councillor also stated that there was absolutely no reason for the people of southern
Bhutan to resort to such acts as there were established procedures and means to seek
redressal for any genuine grievances they had. The people were all aware of the
redressal system in the country and the Royal Advisory Councillors were in a position
to vouch for the existence of such systems. No grievance had been brought to the notice
of any authority and he expressed regret at the fact that no Southern Bhutanese had even
mentioned any grievances to him although he represented them in the Royal Advisory
Council. It was, therefore understandable why all the members in the Assembly had
been unanimous in repeatedly voicing the need to identify the anti-nationals of southern
Bhutan, he added.
He went on to say that His Majesty the King had always shown compassion towards all
his people and had been deeply committed towards improving their well-being. He
hoped that the government and the people would continue to work together as before to
44
safeguard the country’s security and to ensure that peace and unity was once again
restored. He said that he was deeply ashamed and regretted that the anti-national
uprising had taken place in southern Bhutan.
Although it was very difficult for ordinary people to find a solution to the anti-national
problem no matter how hard they might try, he was confident that if all the people put
their trust and faith in His Majesty the King and extended their full support and loyalty,
a solution would be found by His Majesty and the security and well-being of the
country would be fully safeguarded.
Thereafter, since the members had completed their submission of the views and
concerns of the public to the National Assembly, it was resolved that, as recommended
by His Majesty the King, and bearing in mind the present crisis in the country, and the
concerns of the people enumerated above, the Royal Civil Service Commission should
closely study the policies pertaining to the civil service and revise and make
amendments, if found necessary, in the existing rules. The Assembly fully empowered
the Royal Civil Service Commission to introduce and implement rules in the Civil
Service Rules and Regulations that were considered necessary to ensure a reliable and
dependable civil service to serve the nation.
5. Allotment of Illegal Excess Land in southern Bhutan
The People’s Representatives of 45 gewogs in the Dzongkhags of Tongsa, Haa, Paro,
Chukha, Lhuntshi, Tashigang, Pemagatshel, Wangdiphodrang, Dagana and
Samdrupjongkhar submitted eleven proposals on allotment of land in southern Bhutan
to the poor and the landless people from northern Bhutan.
The members proposed that the land belonging to Southern Bhutanese who had
absconded and joined the anti-nationals and all categories of illegal land should be
allotted to the poor and landless people from northern Bhutan. Some members
recommended that such lands should be allotted to the retired personnel from the armed
forces as many of them were finding it extremely difficult to find employment after
retirement and were unable to stake claims to land owned by their parents as most of the
land holdings were very small and not sufficient for distribution among the children.
Such resettlement programmes would also foster preservation of the country’s tradition,
45
culture and customs thereby promoting national identity and strengthening the security
and sovereignty of the country.
The Chimis from the Dzongkhags of eastern Bhutan stated that there were many people
who did not have sufficient agricultural land and that many did not even own a plot of
land to construct a house. They requested that the illegal land in southern Bhutan and
land belonging to the ngolops should be allotted to the poor and landless people from
the northern Dzongkhags. Such a step would also ensure equitable distribution of land
and reduce the occurence of anti-national activities.
The Secretary, Department of Survey and Land Records reported to the Assembly that
the cadastral survey of the land holdings in Samchi and parts of Samdrupjongkhar had
been recently completed. He stated that in Samchi Dzongkhag alone, when the resurvey
was carried out in accordance with the 1979 Land Act, illegal land holdings of
47,235.67 acres had been detected. During January to June 1991, 208 surveyors were
engaged for the cadastral survey in Samchi, out of which 160 were Southern Bhutanese.
As per the Land Act, variations of 0.12 acres and 0.25 acres were allowed for every acre
of wet land and dry land respectively. If this Law had been applied strictly, large tracts
of land would have had to be confiscated and the people concerned penalized.
However, His Majesty the King had been pleased to command the regularization of
genuine excess land holdings in accordance with Resolution No.13 of the 58th Session
of the National Assembly which permitted registration of excess land without paying
the cost, provided the land in question was within the boundary recorded in the earlier
land record. In case the owner was unable to prove that the excess land was within the
boundary of his land holdings, the excess land would be registered in his/her name
provided the land holding of the particular household did not exceed the national ceiling
of 25 acres. However, as decided during the 60th Session of the National Assembly, all
forest land illegally leased and used for growing cash crops had been confiscated.
Though the Land Act permitted land holdings of only 25 acres per household, in
southern Bhutan many people registered in the census under one household had been
permitted to register land in their names on the ground, that although listed as such in
the census, they were not members of the same household. This relaxation of the Land
Act had enabled many households to own land far in excess of the land ceiling of 25
acres.
46
The Secretary went on to report that despite all these special considerations given by
His Majesty to the people of southern Bhutan, Samchi Dzongkhag alone had over
47,000 acres of illegal land holdings even after large areas of excess land were
regularised under the above special allowances and considerations.
At this point, the Home Minister stated that even after the Royal Government had
regularised all genuine excess land detected during the resurvey as per the Land Act and
the resolutions of the National Assembly, the amount of illegal land found by the survey
ran into tens of thousands of acres. Besides these illegal land holdings, the government
would be acquiring some land as some of the Southern Bhutanese were selling their
land and leaving the country. Some of these land would be handed over to the
Department of Forests for plantation and protection of the environment. The balance
could be distributed to the security forces, militia volunteers and landless and poor
people. He reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs was working on the procedures
to be adopted for such allotments.
The Chimis from Haa, Punakha and Tashi Yangtse submitted that the illegal land in
southern Bhutan should be allotted to ex-service personnel as this would contribute to
the security of the nation and the promotion of the national policy of one country, one
people.
His Majesty the King, at this point, told the Assembly that despite the anti-national
uprising and the large scale terrorism and subversive activities unleashed by the
ngolops, the 5 Dzongkhags and 1 Dungkhag of southern Bhutan had remained intact
and secure because of the loyalty and dedicated services of the security forces. He
proposed that the allotment of the illegal land to the security forces and retired
servicemen, who were also a part of the rural population, would be a fitting recognition
of the important role played by the services forces and the militia vounteers in
safeguarding the security of the country.
One of the Royal Advisory Councillors of southern Bhutan submitted that as in the case
of Samchi Dzongkhag, excess land holdings would also be detected in the other
southern Dzongkhags and requested the government to consider allotting these land to
the “Sukumbasis” of southern Bhutan. He also submitted that when resurvey of the
land holdings in the northern Dzongkhags were carried out, excess land holdings would
probably be detected there also. He requested that resettlement programmes be
47
undertaken as per the resolution adopted in this regard during the 69th Session of the
National Assembly and allotment of excess land be made to landless people of both
northern and southern Bhutan.
The Home Minister submitted that if any individual felt that his/her land had been
forcibly or wrongly declared as illegal by the surveyors, His Majesty the King had
issued a Royal Command that such aggrieved individuals could take the matter to the
Dzongkhag Courts or directly to the High Court. His Majesty had also commanded that
if any individual wanted to sell his/her land to the government and leave the country,
such transactions should be undertaken only upon submission of a statement from the
head of the household declaring his intention to sell the land and leave the country. This
statement must be made and attested in the presence of the Dzongda, Thrimpon, Head
of the local Police, Registration Officer, Dungpa, Gup (Village Headman) and the
National Assembly member concerned. The payment of the cost of land must also be
made to the individual in the presence of the above officials and people’s
representatives. With regard to settlement of Southern Bhutanese in northern Bhutan the
implementation of such a programme would be considered only after the present
problem in southern Bhutan was resolved, bearing in mind the overall national security,
the Home Minister said. With regard to the term “Sukumbasis”, as per the previous
session of the National Assembly and as landless people or people with very small land
holdings were found in all parts of the country, the acceptable term was “Landless
People” and not “Sukumbasis”.
Many People’s Representatives stated that the reason why such large illegal land
holdings were being found only in southern Bhutan was due to the large influx of illegal
Nepalese migrants and also due to convenient and easy leasing of illegal land holdings
to non-national share croppers. They recommended that the illegal land holdings in
southern Bhutan should be allotted to the security forces as proposed by His Majesty the
King.
The Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army expressed his deep
appreciation for the proposal to allot the illegal land in southern Bhutan to the security
forces. He said that such generous considerations by the government and the people
would go a long way in boosting their morale.
48
The National Assembly resolved that taking into account the well-being of the people
and to strengthen national security, the illegal land holdings in the southern Dzongkhags
should be allotted first to security force personnel and the Militia Volunteers. The
additional land after such allotments should be given to landless people and to people
with very small land holdings, to facilitate the national objective of ensuring equitable
land distribution.
6. Withdrawal of Citizenship Identity Cards :
The People’s Representatives of Tshogongma, Athang, Tshowogma, Kazhi, Phangyuel,
Rubey and Sephu under Wangdiphodrang Dzongkhag reported that the family
members and relatives of the ngolops were assisting the ngolops in their terrorist
activities by serving as messengers and as informants through their unrestricted
movements. They proposed that in order to prevent this in the interest of national
security, the Royal Government should withdraw their citizenship identity cards.
The Home Minister replied that from the beginning, everyone had been issued with
identity cards in accordance with the Citizenship Act and since many identity cards
were being stolen and also forged by the ngolops, it would serve no useful purpose to
withdraw them. He, however, agreed that, in keeping with the common concern of the
people and the government on the subject, the ngolops and their immediate family
members and relatives should be dealt with according to the relevant articles of the
Citizenship Act as and when they were caught or proven to have engaged in antinational
activities. Anyone violating security procedures would be dealt with according
to the security procedures and regulations. He, therefore, felt that there was no need to
withdraw the Identity Cards.
The concerned representatives of the people clarified that the matter was brought
before the National Assembly in light of the people’s concern over the anti-national
problem which began in September, 1990. As they expressed their satisfaction with the
explanation and assurances of the Home Minister, the National Assembly resolved that
there was no need to take any action on the subject.
7. No Citizenship for Non-Nationals married to Bhutanese Citizen
49
The People’s Representatives of Samkhar, Tashigang proposed that any foreigner
marrying a Bhutanese should not be granted Bhutanese Citizenship.
In this regard, the representative of the people of Bumthang noted that, even though the
National Assembly had resolved during its 67th Session in 1988, that any foreigner
marrying a Bhutanese Citizen after 1985 would not be granted Bhutanese Citizenship,
many Southern Bhutanese continued to marry foreigners. He pointed out that with the
Royal Government continuing to grant citizenship to such people, the Citizenship Act
was being undermined. He called for strict implementation of the Act for all those who
had entered Bhutan through marriage after 1985.
Appreciating the observation made by the People’s Representatives, the Home Minister
said that as long as the grant of citizenship was based according to the Marriage Act and
Citizenship Act of 1985, and the relevant resolution of the 67th Session of the National
Assembly, there would be no problem regarding the point raised by the representatives.
The concerned representatives expressed their appreciation and as there were no more
discussion on the subject, the National Assembly resolved that the Ministry of Home
Affairs should act in accordance with the above existing laws and the resolutions of the
National Assembly in the case of marriages involving foreigners.
8. Identification of ngolops and their collaborators
The People’s Representative of Tongsa Dzongkhag reminded the House that, during the
69th Session of the National Assembly, the Royal Advisory Councillors and the Chimis
of southern Bhutan had insisted that the anti-national disturbances in the south had been
instigated by outsiders. Short of making a sworn pledge, they had further assured the
House that such problems would never arise again from the south.
They noted that although many of the Chimis from the south had now been replaced
because they had been involved in anti-national activities and had absconded, the
concerned Royal Advisory Councillors who were still present in the Assembly were
aware of the extent to which this assurance had been grossly violated. Consequently, it
was inevitable that the people of other Dzongkhags should lose their faith in the
Lhotshampas. They stated that it was for this reason that the assurances now being
given by the new Lhotsham representatives could no longer be accepted at face value.
Therefore, as proposed earlier by the Lhotsham representatives that the Lhotshampas
50
themselves would help the government to identify the ngolops, the full responsibility of
identifying the ngolops and their collaborators must be taken by the Lhotshampas.
This proposal was supported by many members who stated that the Gups, Chimis and
the people in the south would always be fully aware of any stranger or anti-national
element who entered their villages. They insisted that they must, therefore, fully assume
the responsibility of identifying the ngolops and their collaborators.
One of the Royal Advisory Councillors of southern Bhutan replied that, in view of the
strict implementation of the Citizenship Act and the Land Act, everyone was aware of
how much illegal land had been discovered after the recent cadastral survey in Samchi
and Samdrup Jongkhar. He claimed that the success of this survey was due mainly to
the support extended by the genuine citizens in southern Bhutan towards identifying the
illegal immigrants. He, therefore felt that it would be adequate if the Land Act and the
Citizenship Act were implemented faithfully.
The representatives of Samchi and Kalikhola submitted that even though the ngolops
were from the south, all Lhotshampas were not ngolops. They claimed that the main
leaders of the ngolops and those who had committed anti-national activities had all
absconded, and that the remaining Lhotshampas were true and loyal to the TSA-WASUM
as well as strict adherents to the traditions, culture and laws of Bhutan. They
acknowledged that it was the responsibility of the concerned villagers to identify the
ngolops in their respective areas. In this regard, they reported that in the recent census
which was conducted at Samchi and Samdrup Jongkhar and in the on-going census at
Sarbhang, all verifications and necessary investigations were carried out through close
co-operation between the census teams led by the Dungpas and the census committees
of the people.
They submitted that through such genuine and purposeful co-operation between the
government and the people they had been successful in identifying the illegal
immigrants who had entered Bhutan as well as those associated with the ngolops. As
for the responsibility of the people of southern Bhutan to identify the ngolops, they
reported that they had been extending their full co-operation to the security forces.
The Home Minister agreed that it would be very useful if the people themselves and
their Gups and Chimis assisted the Royal Government in identifying the illegal
51
immigrants and the collaborators of the ngolops. He added that all those who were
identified would be subjected to further verification by the concerned committees and
sub-committees of the local people with whom the Royal Government would conduct
joint investigations.
The Assembly noted and appreciated the support and co-operation extended by the
concerned Gups, Chimis and the people of southern Bhutan to the best of their
knowledge and ability. The Assembly further expressed its hope and confidence that the
Southern Bhutanese people would continue to extend such support towards identifying
the ngolops and their collaborators as well as illegal immigrants in the interest of
national security and in ensuring the peace and stability of the country.
9. Checking of Identity Cards and Vehicles at the Checkposts
The People’s Representatives of Lingbu, Shelnga and Beme of Punakha Dzongkhag
pointed out that from the very beginning, only heavy vehicles and passengers travelling
in buses were subjected to identification checks at the various checkposts while those
travelling in light vehicles were being exempted. He proposed that, henceforth, the
identity of passengers travelling in all vehicles should be checked, irrespective of rank
and status, and that the checkposts should be manned with competent personnel.
To this, the Home Minister replied that in view of the disturbances in the country and
the need for everyone to be concerned and to assume a greater sense of responsibility
and commitment to one’s duty, officers from the Department of Immigration and
Census had been appointed at various checkposts. He reported that, in accordance with
the Citizenship Act, they had been discharging their responsibility of controlling the
movement of illegal immigrants and those who might pose a threat to the security of the
country. He further reported that, apart from the diplomats and the military vehicles,
who were exempted from checks, all other vehicles and passengers were being
subjected to proper verification.
The Minister, however, submitted that the Ministry of Home Affairs would have no
difficulty if the National Assembly were to pass a resolution calling for conducting of
stricter checks on all vehicles passing through the checkposts irrespective of the type of
vehicles and the rank and status of their passengers.
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The representatives of the people urged that while they did not see any harm in
continuing to exempt the diplomats and the military, every citizen including all
government servants should not only be required to carry their Identity Cards but it
should be mandatory for government servants to carry movement orders from their
respective offices whether the reason for their movements was private or official. They
further urged that this should be included in the resolution of the National Assembly in
the interest of the country’s security.
At this point, the Chief Operations Officer explained that it was an international
practice to allow free passage of military vehicles through various checkposts. He,
however, assured the Assembly that the RBA vehicles, which often carried arms and
ammunitions in connection with the current security problems, would be properly
checked and secured before they began their movement. He therefore felt that there was
no need for the RBP or the Immigration authorities to check the military vehicles at the
checkposts.
Since there was no objection or any further intervention from the members, the National
Assembly resolved that the diplomats and the military personnel would continue to
enjoy unhindered passage at the checkposts, while all types of vehicles and their
passengers, irrespective of rank and status, should be subjected to verification of
Identity Cards.
10. Matters relating to dual citizenship
The People’s Representative of Tongsa called the attention of the House to the practice
of holding dual citizenship and owning land and properties outside the country by
many Lhotshampas. They requested that the Royal Government should conduct an
investigation and take action against such persons.
The Home Minister replied that in accordance with the Citizenship Act, any Bhutanese
citizen who was found to hold the citizenship of another country would immediately
forfeit his Bhutanese citizenship upon being so proven. He submitted that the law
being very clear, its implementation did not pose any problem.
As the concerned representative was satisfied with the reply of the Home Minister, the
National Assembly resolved that, in accordance with the submission of the Home
53
Minister and the relevant provision under the Citizenship Act, the Royal Government
should take suitable actions against those found holding dual citizenship.
11. Matter concerning Form No. ‘5’ of the Census Records
The People’s Representative of Dagapela under Dagana Dzongkhag informed the
House that inspite of the Royal Government having given incentives to encourage
inter-marriages between Lhotshampas and other citizens of the country, there had been
very few inter-marriages. On the other hand, everyone was aware that the number of
Lhotshampa marrying non-nationals and the issues from such marriages ran into tens of
thousands. He further expressed his concern that the popular tendency of the
Lhotshampa girls to marry non-national Nepalese and continue to live in the country,
instead of going as brides to their husband’s homes, as was customary, would lead to
further influx of immigrants as the relatives of the husbands could be encouraged by
them to migrate into Bhutan. It was, therefore, proposed that all women marrying
foreigners should be deprived of their citizenships. In addition, the census Form No. 5
which enabled foreigners married to Bhutanese nationals to avail citizenship should be
changed.
Many members of the Assembly recalled that during the 67th Session of the Assembly,
Census Form No. ‘5’ had been approved in connection with the Citizenship Act to help
the Southern Bhutanese whose daughters were married to foreigners. The members
therefore appreciated the proposal of the Lhotshampa Chimi from Dagapela that Form
No. ‘5’ should be discontinued.
The Home Minister informed the House that in accordance with the resolution adopted
in the 67th session of the National Assembly, all issues pertaining to marriage with
foreigners should be decided on the basis of the Marriage Act and the Citizenship Act
of 1985. He clarified that Form No.5 was only a means to obtain and verify
information pertaining to marriages with outsiders without which the Marriage Act
could not be implemented effectively. The National Assembly, therefore, resolved that
Form No.5 should not be invalidated or altered.
12. Implementation of the Citizenship Act
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The People’s Representative of Pemagatshel invoked the Citizenship Act of 1985
which granted citizenship to all those who had immigrated to Bhutan before 1958,
when the nationality Act was passed and citizenship was granted to the Southern
Bhutanese for the first time, while those entering thereafter would not be given this
right. He stated that by taking undue advantage of the concessions made after the 1985
Citizenship Act was passed, to accomodate some of the genuine problems of the
Lhotshampas, large numbers of illegal immigrants had entered the country and settled
among our people.
The representative drew the attention of the House to the alarming extent to which
these illegal immigrants had become a considerable economic burden upon the state by
enjoying free access to all kinds of benefits including free health and education
facilities and employment. He advised very strongly that the Royal Government should
implement the Citizenship Act and the related resolutions of the National Assembly
without any concessions and exceptions.
The Home Minister noted that the objective of implementing the Citizenship Act
effectively to enhance national security was a mutual concern of the people and the
government. Since the responsibility of achieving this objective lay with the Home
Ministry, he reported that the Ministry was doing its very best to fulfill this
responsibility by strictly implementing the Citizenship Act.
Although, in keeping with the requirements of the Citizenship Act, the concerned
Dzongdas and Officials had been visiting each house on a door to door basis while
conducting the annual census in their respective jurisdictions, they had not been able to
obtain accurate census records. Therefore, senior officials and trained census
enumerators had been sent to every Dzongkhag to conduct the census thoroughly. The
Minister also reported that unless and until all information including identity of parents,
place of birth, number of siblings, identity of spouse etc. were thoroughly verified, no
citizenship identity cards were being carelessly issued to anyone.
The National Assembly noted with satisfaction the dedication and commitment with
which the concerned Ministries, Departments and Dzongkhags had strived to
implement the Citizenship Act. The Assembly further directed that, with full
dedication to the long term interests of the country, all government agencies should
continue to strictly implement the Citizenship Act and the related resolutions of the
55
National Assembly without fear or favour, unmindful of social or economic status and
irrespective of rank or power.
13. Revival of the tradition of the Pazaab System (Militia)
The People’s Representatives of the 41 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Tongsa,
Punakha, Wangdi Phodrang, Haa, Chukha, Mongar, Tashigang, Pemagatshel and
Dagana submitted thirteen points recommending that the ancient tradition of Pazaab
which was still practiced in a ritual form each year in Punakha Dzong should not only
be revived but strengthened as a modern militia force.
The Chimis stated that the responsibility of defending the security and sovereignty of
the country was the inalienable right and responsibility of all true citizens. They cited
that since ancient times the tradition of raising Pazaab forces out of volunteers from
each household had ensured the successful defence of the country against both internal
and external threats. Even though Bhutan had not maintained a trained and regular
Army, the people had defended their country successfully during numerous wars fought
against the Tibetans and the British.
The representatives submitted that such volunteer forces should be raised today and
maintained at minimal cost to deal with the ngolops who continued to carry out large
scale acts of terrorism and subversion. Many of the Chimis shared the view that the
recently conducted militia programme should be expanded and the training duration
increased. In this connection, the age limit for entry into the militia should be relaxed to
allow all men between the age of 15 and 60 to avail training.
They further proposed that those who had completed militia training should be given
the opportunity to join the regular security forces and assist them in discharging
internal security responsibilities. Furthermore, the militia training programme should
be conducted on a regular basis and should include women, many of whom had already
volunteered to join. Furthermore, since the Gups, Chimis and Village Elders were
participating in the militia training programme, government servants and students
should also be given the opportunity to avail militia training.
To this, the Chief Operations Officer replied that the Royal Bhutan Army was filled
with pride and deeply heartened by the patriotic spirit of the people and the willingness
56
of both men and women to join the militia forces in such large numbers. He proposed
that with regard to the age limit, the Army should be empowered to take appropriate
decisions on the basis of the physical fitness of the individual volunteers.
As for the duration of training, he was most happy to report that the militia volunteers
had been able to successfully complete the equivalent of one year’s regular military
training within four months and that those who were now serving with the security
forces were able to perform as well as the regular soldiers.
The Minister of Communications and Social Services informed the Assembly that there
were many students who had volunteered to join the militia with great enthusiasm, and
a large number had actually received training. However, since His Majesty the King
had been pleased to command that the students should continue their education, they
were not permitted to serve with the security forces.
At this point, the representative of the Rabdey in the Royal Advisory Council reported
that in order to enable the security forces to achieve the objective of restoring peace and
security in the country under the wise and able leadership of His Majesty the King, all
the monk bodies and the monasteries throughout the country had been performing
continuous prayers for the peace and security of the country and the well-being of the
people. He said that it was the constant and cherished wish of the monastic bodies to
ensure that no harm would ever fall upon His Majesty the King and that through his
inspiring leadership and wise guidance, the members of the security forces, as well as
the people, would always be protected against all possible harm.
In the course of the deliberations, several representatives of the people made strong
recommendations to expand and strengthen the Army. Others made suggestions that the
Royal Government should issue weapons to those who had received militia training or
that they should be authorised to make their own arrangements for the acquisition of
arms. Many members also recommended that the Royal Government should
immediately withdraw the standing order forbidding the security forces from resorting
to direct firing even when attacked by armed ngolops.
The Chief Operations Officer responded that the Royal Bhutan Army should be
empowered to strengthen its security forces on the basis of requirement and need and
that in the case of militia personnel, they would be issued with suitable arms as and
57
when their services were utilized. He further stated that the acquisition of arms and
ammunition for personal use should be done in keeping with the National Arms and
Ammunition Act. He informed the House that during the months of September and
October in 1990, when the anti-nationals had indulged in violent demonstrations in the
five Dzongkhags and one Dungkhag of the south, from Sibsoo in the west upto Daifam
in the east, the terrorists had marched behind a human shield of women and children
followed by villagers carrying Khukuries while they themselves carried guns, grenades
and bombs and wore camouflage uniforms.
Intending to take advantage of the small number of security personnel, they had
advanced violently in all the Dzongkhags and Dungkhags openly brandishing their
weapons. The security personnel faced extreme difficulties in view of the Royal
Command that not a single round should be fired by any soldier under any
circumstances. This command was issued to ensure that the security personnel did not
inflict injury on any one of their fellow citizens even though they would be putting
their own lives to risk. By courageously adhering to this Royal Order, several security
personnel lost their lives at the hands of the violent mobs and many were seriously
injured.
Since then, the ngolops had been carrying out large-scale terrorism against the people.
Having become common terrorists and armed enemies of the state, the security forces
were now taking appropriate and successful measures against the ngolops in keeping
with military tactics and procedures. The Chief Operations Officer said that the success
of the security forces in discharging their duties was due to the wise and inspiring
leadership of His Majesty the King and the prayers and good wishes of the monastic
bodies and the people who, like members of one family, had all rallied to inspire and
give moral support to the security forces. The Chief Operations Officer expressed his
deep appreciation and said he was confident of continued support and commitment
from all sections of the Bhutanese people.
On behalf of all the representatives, the Speaker conveyed the deep appreciation of the
National Assembly to the officers and members of the security forces, through the
Chief Operations Officer, for the valiant and courageous manner in which they had
shouldered the responsibility of maintaining law and order and ensuring the safety and
security of the country.
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He further thanked the Chief Operations Officer for the clear views of the Army and
the relevant steps that were being taken in connection with the age limit, duration, and
nature of training for the militia. He also thanked him for giving clarifications on the
procedures governing personal arms in response to the various views and opinions
raised by the People’s Representatives. Therefore, as proposed by the Speaker, the
National Assembly resolved to accept and approve the explanations and
recommendation of the Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army on the
various issues that were raised on the subject of the Pazaab System.
14. Composition of Security Personnel
The People’s Representative of Tashi Yangtse proposed that henceforth, arrangements
should be made to have only totally loyal and true Bhutanese citizens in the RBA, RBP
and the RBG, and in the civil service and financial institutions. Security personnel for
important stores holding arms and ammunition etc. should all be true and loyal
Bhutanese only.
The Chief Operations Officer replied that he fully appreciated the deep concerns
expressed by the people. Every precaution was being taken in guarding important
installations and depots, and the security personnel were instructed to be extra alert at
all times. In view of the grave threat from the anti-nationals to the family members of
Southern Bhutanese security personnel, posting of Southern Bhutanese personnel in the
disturbed areas was being reduced to minimise the threat to their families.
As none of the members had any comments on the matter, the Chief Operations
Officer’s reply was duly accepted and recorded.
15. Soelray ( Bonus Incentive) for inter-marriage
The People’s Representative of 8 gewogs from Tashigang and Pema Gatshel proposed
that the grant of Nu.5,000/- as Soelray, which was later raised to Nu.10,000/- during the
68th Session of the National Assembly to encourage inter-marriage between
Lhotshampas and citizens of other regions should be discontinued. They proposed that
the resultant savings should be diverted for security purposes for which the Royal
Government was incurring large expenditures.
59
To this, the Home Minister replied that the practice of granting Soelray was introduced
upon the command of His Majesty the King as an incentive to encourage inter-ethnic
marriages which would in turn help to promote the national policy of integration and
unity among the Bhutanese people. He further informed that the decision to raise the
amount to Nu.10,000/- was taken in the Cabinet, ratified by the National Assembly in
its 68th Session and implemented w.e.f. the 1st month of 1990. Since then, the Home
Ministry had spent Nu.17 lakhs on account of the Soelray given for the inter-marriages
that had taken place. However, since the Southern Bhutanese showed no appreciation
for this policy, and had instead been maligning the government stating that they were
being forced to inter-marry with Northern Bhutanese, he agreed with the proposal to do
away with this Soelray incentive.
In support of this, several representatives of the people stated that although marriage
was a relationship entered into by willing and consenting adults and, therefore, did not
require any Soelray, the government had introduced the incentive to promote national
integration and unity. Since the incentive was not proving to be useful in promoting this
objective, the funds allocated for this purpose should be reappropriated to meet the cost
of maintaining security forces in the south.
In light of the above discussions, the National Assembly resolved to invalidate
Resolution No.8 of the 68th Session of the National Assembly pertaining to Soilray for
inter-marriages.
16. Cadastral Survey and Census
The People’s Representative of Yuesu of Haa Dzongkhag recommended that it was
important for the Royal Government to vigorously implement the Cadastral Survey and
Census programme in order to obtain complete and accurate land and census data.
The Secretary, Department of Survey and Land Records informed the House that the
payment of land tax was converted to cash from kind in 1971. When subsequent chain
surveys were conducted to convert land records into the acreage system, many
discrepancies had arisen. In addition, a substantial amount of private land had to be
acquired for development purposes. The National Assembly had therefore, appointed a
legislative committee which had drawn up the Land Act that was passed by the National
Assembly.
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In accordance with this Act, re-surveying of land had begun in 1980 starting with
Chirang and Paro. In order to mitigate the problems faced by the people during the
course of the survey, several revisions had been incorporated in the Act by the National
Assembly upon the command of His Majesty the King. He reported that between 1980
and 1990, the Department had completed land survey in 11 Dzongkhags. However,
owing to shortage of staff, they had been able to complete the revision of land records
(Thram registration) for only 2 Dzongkhags, Paro and Bumthang. The Secretary
informed the Assembly that the Department had now completed the cadastral survey
and verification of land records in the 16 gewogs of Samchi between January and June
of 1991. Similarly, he reported that upon the completion of census in Samdrup
Jongkhar, they had been able to undertake cadastral survey in 3 of the gewogs. As soon
as census activities were completed in Gaylegphug, cadastral survey and verification of
land records would also be undertaken.
The concerned representatives of the people expressed their satisfaction with the
progress report submitted by the Secretary, Department of Survey and Land Records.
The National Assembly, therefore, resolved that, in conducting the cadastral survey in
the remaining Dzongkhags, the Survey Department should continue to adhere strictly of
the Land Act and the related resolutions of the National Assembly.
17. Effects on contiguous areas
The public of Karling and Tshe-zang of Dagana submitted their concern that the
security measures taken by the Royal Government to control anti-national terrorist
activities had produced adverse effects on the true Bhutanese living in the villages of
Karling and Tshe-zang which were contiguous to the Lhotshampa villages. They
requested for security assistance to protect them from the terrorists.
The Home Minister observed that the reason for the concern was mainly due to the
ethnic mix of people in several villages of Dagana. He asked the people not to be
alarmed over this situation and to be firm and resolute in their dedication and faith in the
TSA-WA-SUM. He gave his assurance that the security units stationed at Dagana and
Dagapela, with radio communication facilities, would be able to make rapid response to
the security needs of the people. Furthermore, a wireless station had also been
established at Drugay-gang for the benefit of the people. As the concerned
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representatives were satisfied with the arrangements, the National Assembly resolved
that no further action needed to be taken.
18. Role of the Royal Advisory Council
The People’s Representatives of 6 gewogs of Dagana and Wangdiphodrang submitted
that they were not aware of the Royal Advisory Council having played any useful role
to overcome the anti-national activities of the ngolops although they were responsible
for ensuring that no such problems arose between the people and government.
Therefore, they saw no purpose in having the Royal Advisory Councillors. They
requested that the Council should inform the House on the actions and efforts it had
made to improve the present situation as well as the plans and proposals for the
Council’s future role in solving the current problem.
The Chairman of the Royal Advisory Council agreed that, according to Section 1 under
Article 4 of the Role and Responsibilities of the Royal Advisory Council, the Council
was required to advise His Majesty the King on any threats to the peace and security of
the country that might be perceived by the Council. He added that, according to Section
7 under Article 4, the Council was also obligated to apprise His Majesty the King and
also report to the Cabinet and the National Assembly, as might be appropriate, in the
event the action of any citizen or person, including His Majesty the King, was likely to
cause harm to the country and the people.
He reported that, in keeping with Section 6 of the 4th Article of the above-mentioned
document, the Royal Advisory Councillors, being members of the National Assembly
and the Cabinet, had been doing their very best to fulfill their responsibilities. They had
been giving support to the Royal Government during the regular Cabinet meetings
chaired by His Majesty the King to deliberate and decide upon actions to be taken in
connection with resolving the anti-national problem. The Royal Advisory Councillors
from the south had also accompanied His Majesty the King during his many visits to the
southern Dzongkhags to restore peace and stability. When His Majesty the King visited
the northern and eastern Dzongkhags, the concerned Councillors had accompanied the
Royal entourage. The Chairman said that His Majesty the King had himself personally
appealed to the people of southern Bhutan not to be influenced by the ngolops and
participate in anti-national activities. He said that there was little that the Royal
Advisory Council, with its 9 members, could do when so many of the Lhotshampas
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would not even heed to the appeals and advice of His Majesty the King. He concluded
with the statement that the Council had also been actively engaged in discharging its
responsibilities as an appellate authority under the judiciary system.
A Royal Advisory Councillor submitted that, one of the reasons for their not having
been able to meet the public in connection with the present problem was because His
Majesty the King had insisted that, more than anyone else, it was his responsibility as
king to visit the people and security forces rather than let others take the risk. He
informed the House that inspite of their repeated appeals, on grounds of the grave
security risks involved, His Majesty the King had regularly visited the south to be with
the people and the security forces who faced great hardships. Should they be directed to
undertake any specific responsibility in the interest of restoring peace in the country, the
Advisory Councillors would always be prepared to render service to the best of their
abilities.
Many representatives of the people joined in the deliberations and expressed the hope
that regardless of what action may or may not have taken by the Councillors uptil now,
they would in future carry out their responsibility as a bridge between the people and
the government to the best of their abilities. With this, the deliberations came to an end,
having noted that there was no need for any resolution on the subject.
19. Request for Police Outpost
The People’s Representative of Buka-Tading and Bara gewog in Samchi made a request
for the establishment of Police outposts in their gewogs for protection of life and
property.
The Chief Operations Officer stated that the main reason for the establishment of many
security units in southern Bhutan was to protect the life and property of the Lhotsham
people. He, therefore, said that the concern of the people of Buka-Tading could be met
if they explained their problems to the security forces based at Phuntsholing and Gomtu
who regularly patrolled the area. He stated that the request for the Police Outpost at
Buka-Tading would be studied and an appropriate decision taken by the Royal Bhutan
Army.
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A few representatives observed that the effectiveness of the security forces assigned to
protect the Lhotshampas had been limited even with the support of the Militia. They
said that this situation was comparable with the patient who could not be healed because
he refused to cooperate with the doctor and follow his prescription.They recommended
that the Lhotshampas should fully co-operate and give genuine support to the security
forces in the interest of their own safety.
The National Assembly noted that adequate measures were being taken concerning
security in the south as reported by the Chief Operations Officer. It resolved that the
justifications for the establishment of a Police Outpost should be studied by the Army
and an appropriate decision taken.
20. Pledges of Support for the TSA-WA-SUM
The People’s Representatives of 53 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Thimphu,
Tashigang, Punakha, Shemgang, Haa, Sarbhang, Paro, Lhuntshi, Wangdiphodrang and
Chukha, and the representative of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
submitted to the National Assembly that the people were fully prepared to extend
whatever support was required, both material and physical, to overcome the ngolop
problem in southern Bhutan. Other representatives also stated that the people of their
Dzongkhags, too, had pledged their total support for removing the ngolop problem and
had submitted their pledges in writing to the Royal Government. They submitted that all
loyal and true Bhutanese were fully aware that within the last three decades only, the
Southern Bhutanese had already rebelled twice against the TSA-WA-SUM. However,
due to the blessings and protection of the Guardian Deities, the wise leadership of His
Majesty the King, and the good fortune of the people, the ngolops had not succeeded in
their treacherous objectives. To ensure that the country never again faced such a grave
threat to its security and well-being, the representatives unanimously reposed their full
faith and confidence in His Majesty the King and entrusted him with the responsibility
of bringing about a permanent solution to the ngolop problem. For their part, the
representatives pledged their total support and commitment to His Majesty the King and
the Royal Government. They stated that regardless of whatever difficulty or problem
that may be encountered, the people of Bhutan were fully determined to safeguard the
institution of hereditary monarchy and the security and well-being of the Bhutanese
nation.
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The Minister of Trade and Industry said that the unwavering support of all loyal and
dedicated citizens was the most important requirement for ensuring the well-being of
the country. Therefore, all Southern Bhutanese who wanted to remain in Bhutan as loyal
citizens should abide fully by the laws of the land, ensure that the ngolops did not
receive any support from them, and should all pledge their total loyalty and allegiance
to the TSA-WA-SUM. Therefore, when the people of southern Bhutan submitted their
written views, during the 71st Session of the National Assembly, on the punishment to
be imposed on the ngolops as per Resolution No. Ga 1 of the 70th Session, they should
also submit their written pledges of total loyalty and allegiance to the TSA-WA-SUM.
Such a step would go a long way towards removing the ngolop problem, he said.
Some of the Assembly members pointed out that there was no need to urge people to
pledge their loyalty and allegiance to the TSA-WA-SUM as loyalty and dedication to
one’s country should be spontaneous and sincere. As the laws of our land were not
enacted recently, they said, there was also no need to urge people to abide by the law. If
the Lhotshampas had not taken up unlawful and treasonable activities in the first place,
there would have been no need for the matter to be brought up in the National
Assembly. The Lhotshampas, who had first of all come to Bhutan as migrants, were
now trying to take over the country. For such people, there was really no point in even
discussing the matter of making pledges.
Some other members suggested that the Assembly could give consideration to sending a
tshogpa (committee) comprising of senior government officials and capable and
responsible representatives of the general public to tour southern Bhutan, meet with the
people and assess their true feelings, and encourage them to pledge loyalty to the
country.
His Majesty the King said that regarding the pledging of loyalty and allegiance, it
should be a decision that should be left entirely upto the Southern Bhutanese
themselves. It should not be a matter for government officials or people from other parts
of the country to be involved in.
One of the Royal Advisory Councillors stated that touring the south and talking about
pledging loyalty and support to the TSA-WA-SUM at this stage could be misconstrued
as coercing or stage-managing the people’s response.
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The Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army said that every Dzongkhag
already had a Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogchung (District Development Committee), and
Gewog Tshogpas (Block Development Committee). So there was no need to establish
any other tshogpas or committees as the existing tshogpas already involved the people
at the grassroots level.
All the Assembly members agreed that it should be left upto the Lhotshampas
themselves to come forward with their own proposals and that neither the National
Assembly nor the government should be involved in issuing directives or suggestions on
the pledging of loyalty and allegiance by them.
It was therefore resolved that the government should not involve itself in directing the
Southern Bhutanese to pledge loyalty and allegiance but leave it upto the Lhotshampas
themselves to decide, and that there was no need for establishing any additional
tshogpa.
The Home Minister expressed his deep appreciation to the People’s Representatives for
the complete support, dedication and commitment pledged by the people and their total
readiness to do everything necessary to remove the ngolop problem. The Home
Minister expressed his confidence that with such strong commitment and loyalty from
the people, the security and well-being of the country would always be safe.
The representatives of the government, the clergy and the people resolved to repose
their full faith and confidence in His Majesty the King and to extend their unwavering
support, loyalty and commitment towards removing the ngolop problem.
21. Greater priority for the nation’s security than for development works
The People’s Representatives of 20 gewogs from the Dzongkhags of Pemagatshel,
Lhuntshi, Thimphu, Wangdiphodrang and Tashigang submitted six points emphasizing
that greater priority should be given to the security of the country than to the
implementation of developmental works. The development programmes implemented
by the government upto now had already brought great socio-economic benefits to the
people in the areas of Education, Health, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Roads and
Communication, and raised the per capita income and standard of living. It was of
course, very important to maintain this excellent pace of development. However, at a
time when the security and well-being of the country was being threatened, it was far
more important to give total priority to ensuring the security of the nation. For their
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part, the people were ready to even sacrifice their lives for the security of the nation.
Development works were of lesser importance during such times as they could always
be resumed once the ngolop problem was removed. Therefore, the representatives
proposed that development works should be suspended till the ngolop problem was
removed and the budgets diverted to meet the additional expenditure for ensuring the
security of the country.
The People’s Representatives further submitted that it was the ngolops in southern
Bhutan who had disturbed the peace and tranquility of the country. It was because of the
large scale terrorism unleashed by them that development works had been disrupted in
southern Bhutan, and it was because of their continued terrorist and subversive activities
that security forces had to be deployed in the disturbed areas. Therefore, all
development works in southern Bhutan should be stopped and the funds diverted for
meeting security expenditures.
The Home Minister addressed the Assembly and said that he deeply appreciated the
patriotic feelings and views of the Chimis and the proposal which they had submitted on
behalf of the people from all parts of Bhutan that greater priority should be given to the
security of the nation than to development works. At a time when the security of the
nation was threatened it was indeed gratifying that the government and the people were
totally united and single-minded in their determination to overcome the grave threat to
the nation. He recalled that past Bhutanese generations too had been totally dedicated
and committed to the national interest and had even risked their lives to safeguard the
security of the nation. They had bequeathed us with the legacy of a secure and
sovereign, independent nation and it was now our sacred responsibility to safeguard and
hand over this proud legacy to our future generations, the Home Minister said. The
Home Minister, therefore, deeply appreciated the proposal of the representatives to
suspend development works during the forthcoming 7th Plan and divert the funds to
meet the additional expenditure for ensuring the nation’s security.
His Majesty the King then addressed the Assembly and said that rather than cut back on
development works, he felt that extra efforts should be made to achieve greater socioeconomic
progress in the 7th Plan period. He said that a budget of Nu.15,000 million
had been proposed for the Plan and every effort would also be made to mobilise
additional funds to promote ant national objectives of the 7th Plan could not be fulfilled
in all the 18 Dzongkhags of the country. Regarding the expenditures or budget for
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security measures, the Finance Ministry had been diverting a little portion of the
country’s internal revenues to meet some of the cost. If there were further requirements,
the Finance Ministry could set aside 10% to 15% of the internal revenue collections to
meet security expenditures. This money would be kept intact unless required and could
be taken back by the Finance Ministry if not spent.
The Royal Advisory Councillors and some of the People’s Representatives thanked His
Majesty for his unwavering commitment to promote the prosperity, well-being and
security of the people and the country. They deeply appreciated His Majesty’s desire to
implement the 7th Plan fully despite the present problems in the country.
One of the representatives from Bumthang said that the Lhotshampas had brought
trouble with them from the time they had migrated to Bhutan. Although the Royal
Government had implemented many development programmes and established many
service facilities for them, the Lhotshampas had themselves destroyed these facilities
and disrupted development activities. Therefore, if these facilities were re-established,
there was every possibility of them being destroyed again. Therefore, until the ngolop
problem was removed, no development activities should be carried out, they said.
Other representatives stated that if the government decides to implement the 7th Plan in
the southern Dzongkhags, and if the ngolops continued with their anti-national activities
and the Southern Bhutanese people continued to maintain their present ambivalent and
uncommitted attitude, the ngolop problem would not only disrupt the development
activities in the southern Dzongkhags but also affect development works in northern
Dzongkhags. Therefore, all development works in the southern Dzongkhags should be
stopped until the ngolop problem was removed.
The Chimis from Tashi Yangtse, Shemgang, Tongsa and Paro noted that because of the
continued anti-national and terrorist activities of the ngolops in southern Bhutan it had
become imperative to give greater priority to the security of the nation. As it was
important to further strengthen the security forces through training as well as
procurement of equipment, and also because the government would have to incur much
additional expenditure for security purposes, the entire 7th Plan budget for development
activities in southern Bhutan should be diverted to meet security expenditures.
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One of the Royal Advisory Councillors from southern Bhutan, said that the Five Year
Plans were not meant for just one Dzongkhag or one Dungkhag but for the entire
country. There had been no problem regarding the implementation of any of the Plans
upto the 6th Plan and development works had been progressing very well in the country.
Anti-national and terrorist activities did not take place only in Bhutan but also happened
in other countries. He noted that the people in the other 13 Dzongkhags wanted to stop
development activities in the 5 Dzongkhags and 1 Dungkhag of southern Bhutan
because they were upset that anti-national activities were taking place in the southern
Dzongkhags. He, however, pointed out that the southern Dzongkhags were an integral
part of Bhutan and requested the members to think of the overall national interest. He
reminded the members that His Majesty the King had already explained the matter very
clearly. He requested that a distinction be made between the ngolops and the loyal
Southern Bhutanese and that the implementation of development works should be
allowed to take place as planned.
The People’s Representative of Kalikhola expressed his deep gratitude to His Majesty
the King for the great love and impartially with which he had always promoted the
interests and welfare of all the people of southern Bhutan and all Bhutanese citizens
regardless of their race or creed. In particular, His Majesty had always been especially
considerate to all Lhotsham people. He requested His Majesty for his further kind
consideration and understanding. He also requested the members not to consider all
Lhotshampas as ngolops.
Some representatives pointed out that although the Lhotshampas were recent
immigrants, they had been given preferential treatment by the government even after
they were granted Bhutanese citizenship, and had received more benefits from
development programmes. So, if the Lhotshampas themselves gave clear proof through
their actions that they were not all ngolops, due consideration could be given for the
implementation of developmental activities in southern Bhutan.
The majority of the representatives proposed that until the ngolop problem was
removed, all development works in southern Bhutan should be stopped and the budget
diverted for security expenditures.
The Chief Operations Officer of the RBA then addressed the Assembly and thanked the
People’s Representatives for their deep concern for the financial and logistic burdens
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faced by the government on account of the deployment of the security forces. This was
reflected in their proposal to stop developmental works in the south and divert the funds
for security expenditures. Although it was up to the National Assembly and the Royal
Government to decide whether development works in the south should be implemented
or not, he felt that it was necessary for him to submit some points for due consideration.
He reminded the Assembly that one of the main reasons for security forces being
deployed in the south was in connection with development activities. Security was
being provided to all administrative centres and important service facilities and
installations like schools, hospitals, bridges, projects and industries. Security also had to
be provided to all government employees working in the disturbed southern
Dzongkhags. In view of the existing heavy commitments, he asked the members to note
that it would be extremely difficult for the security forces to provide security for any
additional development activities under the present circumstances.
The Minister of Trade and Industries then addressed the Assembly and said that most of
the major industries and commercial centres and towns were located in southern
Bhutan. In the wake of the large scale anti-national activities, all the major industrial
establishments faced grave risks from the terrorists. Although the security forces were
doing their best to protect all the important establishments, the terrorists had inflicted
big losses to the government with acts of sabotage like the felling of electrical pylons
supplying power to the Penden Cement Factory in Gomtu. Most of the industries
proposed in the 7th Plan were to be located in the south, and promoting industrial
development was one of the most important 7th Plan objectives. The Ministry of Trade
and Industries was, therefore, deeply concerned by the serious difficulties and grave
security risks involved in implementing the industrial development programmes in the
south due to the continued anti-national activities.
The Minister of Social Services and Communication, the Director General of Health
Services and the Director General of Education stated that large scale arson and
destruction had been carried out in the south on health and education establishments and
facilities. Many schools and health centres had been destroyed and looted by the antinationals.
Teachers, doctors and health workers had been threatened, harassed and
attacked by the terrorists, and many of the schools and health establishments had to be
closed down. Despite these terrorist activities many schools, health centres and all the 9
hospitals in southern Bhutan had been kept open on the command of His Majesty the
King. As people working in the disturbed areas faced constant risk to their lives, the
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concerned Departments were facing serious difficulties in staffing these establishments.
Because of the grave risks from continued terrorist activities, the Departments of Health
and Education submitted that it would be extremely difficult to resume development
programmes in the south until the anti-national problem was resolved.
His Majesty the King told the Assembly that despite the serious security problems in
the south, the government had managed to keep open 44 schools and 4 national
educational institutions in the southern Dzongkhags and had also accommodated 6,738
Southern Bhutanese students, from the schools which had to be closed down, in the
schools in other parts of Bhutan. Despite the continued terrorist activities, every effort
would be made to re-open at least 10 more schools in southern Bhutan in the following
year. As many schools in the south had been either destroyed or damaged by the
terrorists, they would have to be re-built by the Department of Education in areas that
were more safe from terrorist attacks. Inspite of the high cost that would be involved,
His Majesty recommended that the National Assembly should pass a resolution to
establish at least 10 additional schools in southern Bhutan.
His Majesty also informed the Assembly that all the 9 hospitals in southern Bhutan, 17
BHUs, 8 Dispensaries, 33 Outreach Clinics and 16 Malaria Centres had been kept open
despite the continued terrorist activities. He said that every effort would be made to
open at least 8 BHUs and Dispensaries by next year. This would bring the number of
health facilities kept open to 91. These facilities could also provide all essential health
coverage to the people including, pre-natal and post-natal care, child immunization and
TB and leprosy control programmes. His Majesty requested the National Assembly to
pass a resolution to this effect.
His Majesty said that he was fully aware that although the Royal Government had
carried out extensive development works in the south at great cost, the anti-nationals in
southern Bhutan, instead of showing their appreciation, had destroyed and damaged
many of the facilities established for their benefit. He said that it was not out of
compassion that he was recommending the implementation of development projects in
southern Bhutan. He was actually keeping in mind the larger interest and the long term
security and well-being of the nation and the national goal of achieving a uniform and
balanced development throughout the country. His Majesty told the Assembly that the
construction of a 65 Km motor road would be undertaken between Bhangtar and
Samdrupjongkhar next year at an estimated cost of Nu.160 million, His Majesty also
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informed the members that the Dungkhag offices in Dagapela and Bhangtar, which had
to be closed down in the wake of the large scale anti-national activities, would be reopened
in 1992.
The Representatives of the Government and the People submitted that although the
wishes and commands of His Majesty the King were sacred and inviolate, they begged
to submit their sincere and heartfelt views on the matter of resuming development
works in southern Bhutan. The Royal Government had always given preferential
treatment to the Southern Bhutanese and had implemented more development works in
the south than in northern parts of the country. The Southern Bhutanese had been given
more land and also enjoyed far greater benefits in the areas of education, health and
employment. Most of the industries and commercial centres were in their dzongkhags
and they enjoyed a much higher income than the rest of the people in Bhutan. Despite
all this, they had turned and bitten the very hand that had been feeding them.
One of the Chimi from Haa said that in the process of openly rebelling against the TSAWA-
SUM, the Lhotshampas had burnt down and destroyed the very schools where their
children were being educated, the hospitals and health centres where they were being
treated and the roads and bridges that were being used by them. Even their children had
abused and attacked the teachers who had been educating them. The Lhotshampas
people had threatened, attacked, kidnapped and murdered government officials and staff
who were implementing development programmes for their benefit. In spite of the
treacherous and subversive intentions of these people and the large scale terrorism
unleashed by them, which had caused great destruction and loss to the country, many
service facilities had still been kept open at great cost and risk by the government.
Most of the members expressed strong reservation about resuming development works
and opening schools and health facilities in the south in addition to the ones already
kept open. Some members proposed that only roads and health facilities should be kept
open in the southern Dzongkhags. Other members submitted that it would not only be
pointless but a source of un-necessary loss and expenditure and risk to resume
development activities and open additional service facilities in the south as it would
only result in their being destroyed once again by the ngolops. If the Lhotshampas
wanted to re-open or re-build the facilities destroyed by them, they should do so
themselves at their own cost.
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Other members submitted that at this stage, development works should either be
suspended in the south or only taken up on a very small scale until the situation returned
to normal. Some other members proposed that only those facilities and establishments
that were already existing should be maintained and no additional facilities should be
opened. One of the Chimi from Thimphu, on the other hand, proposed that rather than
open additional facilities in the south, even the existing ones should be closed down.
Several representatives submitted that there was no need to rush into any decision now
and that it should be left upto the behaviour and actions of the Lhotshampas to
determine whether development works should be stopped or resumed.
The Minister of Trade and Industry said that it was true that the ngolops had destroyed
many facilities like schools and hospitals. However, it should be noted that not all
Lhotshampas were ngolops. He, therefore, requested that facilities such as schools and
hospitals should be re-opened for the benefit of these Lhotshampas. The Minister also
thanked His Majesty the King for taking the full responsibility of finding a lasting
solution to the ngolop problem in southern Bhutan. He said that the representatives of
the government, the clergy and the people should all give their full support to His
Majesty the King and serve with loyalty and dedication to remove the ngolop problem.
Some members stated that even though it may have been active ngolops who destroyed
the service facilities in southern Bhutan, it was the responsibility of the Lhotshampas to
look after these establishments. Since they had allowed these facilities to be destroyed,
it meant that they did not want them any more.
As the debate became very prolonged, the Speaker addressed the Assembly and took
due note of the almost total unanimity of opinion among the members to stop
development activities in the southern Dzongkhags.
His Majesty the King intervened and requested the Assembly to give further
consideration to the issue. His Majesty expressed his complete understanding and
appreciation for the frankness displayed by the members. He said that it was an
indication of the National Assembly’s maturity that members did not hesitate to express
views which they felt were in the interest of the nation. His Majesty said that he was
very proud of their deep commitment and concern for the security and well-being of the
country. His Majesty told the members that there need not be any concern about
removing the ngolop problem as long as the people and the government were united in
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their loyalty and dedication to the nation and strived together to strengthen and protect
the security and sovereignty of the country.
His Majesty then reminded the members that they had already entrusted him with the
responsibility of finding a permanent solution to the ngolop problem, and he had also
given his full assurance that he would strive to do so with total dedication and
commitment. His Majesty gave the Assembly his pledge to abdicate if he did not
succeed in finding a lasting solution to the ngolop problem. However, if the authority
and power to decide on how to go about finding a solution to the problem was not
included with the responsibility and accountability involved, it would not at all be
possible to find a proper solution to the ngolop problem. Finding a permanent solution
to such a serious problem involved careful thought and planning, and required a deep
understanding of long term objectives and implications. His Majesty requested the
members to carefully consider and decide whether this great responsibility and
accountability with all its attendant risks as well as the necessary power of decision,
should be left with the National Assembly members or given to His Majesty the King.
The Royal Advisory Councillors and the People’s Representatives clarified that they
had expressed their views opposing the renewal of development works in the south out
of their anger for the treacherous anti-national activities carried out by the ngolops last
year, and also out of their deep concern that these activities still continued unabated and
might even escalate further. They requested His Majesty to extend his kind indulgence
and understanding for the feelings of deep concern which had prompted them to differ
with his proposal. The representatives of the government, clergy and the people all
pledged their complete support, loyalty and confidence in His Majesty the King.
The National Assembly decided that, as resolved earlier, the responsibility of finding a
permanent solution to the ngolop problem should be entrusted fully to His Majesty the
King along with all the prerogratives and powers as would be deemed necessary, and
that the government and the people would give their full support and assistance to His
Majesty in all his decisions and policies. It was resolved that the renewal of
development activities in southern Bhutan, including the opening of schools, health
centres, Dungkhag offices and construction of roads should be carried out as proposed
by His Majesty the King.
22. Pledge to uphold present system
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The People’s Representatives of Tashigang and Lhuntshi Dzongkhags stated that
Bhutan had always been a sovereign, independent country throughout its history. She
had enjoyed peace, tranquility and happiness for generations since the establishment of
hereditary monarchy. The people were, therefore, very upset to learn that the Nepalese
in southern Bhutan were trying to overthrow the cherished system of government in
Bhutan and introduce democracy so that they could one day take over the country. The
representatives said that the people did not want any changes in the present system and
could neither contemplate nor tolerate the idea of being ruled by Nepalis. They,
therefore, requested the government to ensure that the ngolops in southern Bhutan were
crushed once and for all and that such a threat to the country’s security would never rise
again.
The Home Minister took the floor and gave a summary of the main demands of the
ngolop organization called the Bhutan People’s Party.
1. Unconditional release of all prisoners
2. Establishment of constitutional monarchy with a Prime Minister and proportional
representation in the Cabinet and the National Assembly.
3. Reform in the present judiciary system.
4. Ammendment of the Citizenship Act of 1985.
5. Right to culture, dress, language and script.
6. Freedom of press, speech and expression.
7. Freedom of formation of unions and political parties
8. Freedom of trade and occupation.
9. Right to equitable distribution of wealth and funds.
10. Right to equality of opportunities in employment.
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11. Right to education.
The real objective of the anti-nationals was reflected in the demand for constitutional
monarchy and proportional representation in the Cabinet and the National Assembly,
and the demand for the amendments of the Citizenship Act, said the Home Minister.
The ngolops wanted to obtain citizenship for all the illegal Nepali immigrants residing
in Bhutan and to remove the curb on illegal immigration. They had already promised
citizenship, land and employment to the Nepalis living outside Bhutan in return for their
support if they achieved their subversive objectives of taking over the country. They had
even registered the names of those who had agreed to aid and assist them.
Although the Royal Government had given equal opportunities and greater facilities of
education and employment to the Lhotshampas than to the original Bhutanese, and even
though they comprised 40% of the civil service, the ngolops were still not satisfied, said
the Home Minister. They not only wanted to increase their numbers in the government
but also wanted to change the demographic balance of the country and take control over
the central administrative system. That was why they were so keen on establishing
constitutional monarchy so that the head of the government would be the Prime
Minister, who would be a Nepali if the majority of the population were Nepalis.
He further stated that the business community and all the Assembly members were fully
aware that all genuine citizens were enjoying the freedom of “trade and occupation”.
Regarding “equal distribution of wealth and funds”, a look at the development plan
expenditure would suffice. The Minister said that it just needs to be asked where all the
industries were located, where all the lucrative cardamom and orange gardens were
located, and which part of the country had the maximum number of schools and
hospitals. As everyone knows, said the Minister, all major industries and commercial
centres were located in southern Bhutan and the Lhotshampas enjoyed a far greater per
capita income that other Bhutanese because of their cash crop earnings. All the
demands of the ngolops are pure propaganda, he said, except for the demands for
constitutional monarchy and proportional representation in the Cabinet and the National
Assembly, and the demand for amendment of the Citizenship Act, which reflect their
true objectives.
The Home Minister said that the ngolops openly boasted that there were 18 million
Nepalis in Nepal and 10 million Nepalis in India, most of them living across Bhutan’s
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immediate borders in Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and the Duars region. It was the
ultimate aim of the anti-nationals to turn Bhutan into a Nepali dominated State and
include it among the Nepali dominated areas in the Himalayan region. Although,
fortunately, they were not yet the majority, the repeated claims of the anti-nationals that
Nepalese in southern Bhutan comprised 60% of the country’s total population clearly
reflected their intention of dramatically changing the demographic balance in Bhutan.
The Home Minster pointed out that although His Majesty the King had repeatedly
stressed over the years that the future of Bhutan lay in the hands of the people and that it
was upto the people to decide whatever changes they felt were necessary, the antinationals
in southern Bhutan would never be satisfied until they had taken over the
country and turned it into a Nepali dominated state.
The Home Minister informed the Assembly that one of the reasons given by the ngolops
in the international press about their activities against the Royal Government was the
false allegation that the policy on national dress and language was forced upon the
people. As everyone was fully aware, this policy was not arbitrarily thrust upon the
people. It was explained clearly to the people that Bhutan being a small country with a
small population, the policy was being introduced to promote national integration and to
strengthen Bhutan’s status as a sovereign, independent country with a unique national
identity. The policy was discussed thoroughly with the people, first by the District
Development Committees (DYT) through whom the people had been asked to submit
their views and feelings about the policy. After the people had submitted written and
signed endorsement of the policy through the DYTs, His Majesty the King had toured
all the southern Dzongkhags to personally ascertain, at the grassroots level, whether the
views of the people, submitted through the DYT, were indeed genuine.
During the large public meetings he held in all the 5 southern Dzongkhags including
Phuntsholing Dungkhag, His Majesty had made it explicitly clear to all the people that it
was not mandatory to adopt “gho” and “kira” as the national dress and that it was
perfectly all right to adopt any dress so long as it was different from the dress worn in
other countries, and could, therefore, project a distinct Bhutanese identity. It was the
people of southern Bhutan themselves who endorsed “gho” and “kira” as the most
suitable national dress in all the public meetings in the southern Dzongkhags. They had
even stated very strongly that the promotion of the national dress and language should
have been introduced much earlier and requested that it be implemented without any
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further delay. Thereafter, the policy on the promotion of the national dress and language
was submitted for approval to the National Assembly. The policy was implemented
only after it was unanimously passed by the Assembly during its 68th Session. During
the 69th Session, the People’s Representatives of southern Bhutan strongly requested
the National Assembly and the Royal Government to ensure that the policy on national
dress and language as well as Driglam Namzha was implemented more vigorously to
promote national integration and unity. The malicious allegations against this policy
was made by the anti-nationals to disguise their subversive objectives and to gain
international sympathy and support.
The Home Minister further informed the Assembly that immediately after the violent
anti-national uprising in September 1990, His Majesty the King, accompanied by the
Royal Advisory Councillors of southern Bhutan, had visited the southern Dzongkhags
to meet the people. During his meeting with the DYT members of Sarbhang
Dzongkhag, His Majesty had expressed his deep appreciation that, among all the
Dzongkhags and Dungkhags of southern Bhutan, the people of Kalikhola and Ninchula,
under Kalikhola Dungkhag, had not taken part in any activity against the TSA-WASUM,
and that it was, therefore, not necessary to deploy any security troops to protect
service facilities and government installations in their Dungkhag. The DYT members
from Kalikhola and Ninchula assured His Majesty that there was absolutely no danger
of any anti-national uprising taking place in their Dungkhag. In view of the assurances,
His Majesty requested the Gups, Chimi and people of the Dungkhag for their
cooperation in ensuring the continuation of development works in their area and the
security of the government staff carrying out these works. However, only a week later,
the people of Kalikhola and Ninchula took part in violent anti-national activities.
Likewise, most of the Southern Bhutanese students in Samchi High School, also, had
joined the anti-nationals very shortly after His Majesty had personally spoken with them
and had advised them that even if they had no love and loyalty for their king, they
should concentrate on completing their education and not join the ngolops to harm their
own country.
The Home Minister also informed the Assembly that during the violent anti-national
demonstrations, the ngolops had attacked and beaten up many loyal Bhutanese people,
and even stripped them of their clothes which were burnt or cut to pieces. They had
vandalised, looted and destroyed government offices and property. Many basic facilities
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like schools, hospitals, and bridges had been destroyed and the lives and property of all
government officials and staff working in the south were put to grave risk. As everyone
was aware, the large scale terrorism unleashed by the anti-nationals continued unabated
to this day in southern Bhutan.
The Home Minister then expressed his total confidence that the ngolop problem would
be effectively and permanently resolved. He expressed his deep gratitude to His Majesty
the King for assuming the full responsibility of finding a lasting solution to the ngolop
problem and thanked the people for the unity and commitment with which they pledged
their support for His Majesty the King and the Royal Government.
The People’s Representative from Pemagatshel stated that the anti-nationals had been
attempting to instigate the eastern Bhutanese to join them. They had made malicious
allegations to create a rift between the Eastern Bhutanese and the Western Bhutanese.
However, the Eastern Bhutanese were fully aware of the treachery of the Lhotshampas.
When the Lhotshampas had rebelled against the TSA-WA-SUM in 1952, the older
generation of the Eastern Bhutanese at that time had warned that sooner or later the
Lhotshampas would once again revolt. Those words had been proven true and the
treachery of the Southern Bhutanese confirmed once again. The representative said that
the people of eastern Bhutan, were unwavering in their loyalty and support for the TSAWA-
SUM and were ready to take whatever steps were necessary to crush the ngolops.
The People’s Representative of Phuntsholing Dungkhag said that although some of the
previous National Assembly members from southern Bhutan had joined the antinationals,
their replacements had been elected by the people and were currently
attending the Assembly. He said that the ngolops were terrorizing the general public in
the south to coerce them into lending their support. The new Assembly members from
the south would, however, make strong efforts to exhort the people in their
constituencies to resist the ngolops and safeguard the security of the country, he said.
The representatives of the government, the clergy and the people strongly condemned
the anti-nationals for attempting to undermine and destroy the cherished and hallowed
institution of hereditary monarchy in Bhutan by hypocritically calling for the
establishment of democracy. They pointed out that although democracy in Bhutan might
not be institutionalised in form it was enjoyed by the people in spirit as well as in
practice. The people had a decisive say in all issues that directly concerned them as well
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as in affairs of national importance. In keeping with the times, the nation’s beloved
sovereigns had introduced sweeping changes and reforms over the years and steered the
country on a course of rapid socio-economic development so that it could assume its
rightful place among the international comity of nations.
Representatives pointed out that His Majesty the King and His Majesty’s father, the
third king, had always insisted on greater participation by the people both in
development works and in the decision making process. The National Assembly itself
and the Royal Advisory Council had been established on the initiative and insistence of
the king and not on any request or initiative from the people. Serfdom had been
abolished and land reforms carried out to ensure social justice. The judiciary was
separated from the executive, and a Cabinet and an independent Civil Service
Commission established to promote more efficient government. District Development
Committees were established, followed by block and village development committees
to further promote effective decentralisation and full participation by the people in
development works and decision making on national issues.
As everyone was fully aware, all people in Bhutan were equal before the law and
enjoyed their inalienable individual rights as citizens and human beings, while equally
respecting these same rights in others. The Bhutanese people also enjoyed equal
opportunity in education, training, employment and entrepreneurship and the Royal
Government extended all possible encouragement and assistance. The only criteria for
success was the individual’s ability and capacity for hard work.
The representatives said that the institution of hereditary monarchy was established by
the people of Bhutan when the whole body of the Clergy, The State Councillors, the
Chillas of all the districts, and the representatives of the people unanimously elected
Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch to rule, protect and guide
the destiny of the nation.
The representatives all asked for permission one after another to express their views on
the sanctity and precious value they attached to this sacred institution. They said that
during the previous day’s debates they had not received an opportunity to do so, as the
session was concluded after His Majesty had pledged to abdicate if he did not find a
permanent solution to the ngolop problem.
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They reiterated that the National Assembly had already entrusted His Majesty with the
full responsibility, and all prerogatives and powers as he deemed necessary, to find a
permanent solution to the ngolop problem. They also reiterated the pledge made by the
clergy and the people to give their total and unwavering support, both physical and
material, for removing the ngolop problem. With the wise, farsighted and dynamic
leadership provided by His Majesty the King and the unwavering loyalty, dedication
and support of the people, the representatives were confident that the ngolop problem
would be removed. They were, therefore, greatly shocked and disturbed by the very
mention of the word abdication by His Majesty the King. They requested His Majesty,
for the sake of the TSA-WA-SUM, not to entertain even the slightest thought on such a
drastic step under any circumstances. There could be no TSA-WA-SUM without the
King. They strongly requested that His Majesty’s statement about abdication should be
deleted from the proceedings of the National Assembly.
The representatives said that they had been elected from among tens of thousands to
represent the people in their constituencies. The people had sent them to the National
Assembly with the full trust and hope that they would be able to contribute towards
strengthening the security of the country at a time when the ngolops in southern Bhutan
had risen against the TSA-WA-SUM. It was unthinkable for them to return to the
people with the news that their king had offered to step down from the throne if a
solution to the ngolop problem was not found. The people would be deeply hurt and
disturbed to hear such grave tidings. Rather than contribute towards removing the
ngolop problem, such news would demoralise the people and further encourage the
ngolops to step up their treacherous activities. After all, overthrowing the hallowed
institution of hereditary monarchy was one of the main objectives of the ngolops. The
representatives said that it was the sacred and bounden duty of the government, clergy
and the people to work together and ensure that the ngolops were left with no doubts
whatsoever that, far from succeeding in their subversive intentions, it would be pointless
for them to even entertain the slightest hope of doing so even in their dreams.
The representatives of the clergy and the people invoked the Guardian Deities as
witness that they had unwavering love loyalty, trust and confidence in His Majesty the
King and the cherished institution of hereditary monarchy established through the
wisdom and farsightedness of the founding fathers. Several members stated their desire
to submit a signed and sealed testament to that effect in the Great Hall of the Assembly.
Other members reminded them that the signed testament of the founding fathers when
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they unanimously elected Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk as the first hereditary monarch
was inviolate and binding for all generations. A new testament would not only dilute the
strength of that sacred bedrock of the Bhutanese system but create the impression that
there were indeed reasons for doubts between the king and the people which had to be
cleared with a new testament.
His Majesty the King then intervened and addressed the Assembly. He told the
representatives of the Central Monk Body, the Government Officials and the People
Representatives that he was fully aware of the deep and abiding love, affection and
loyalty they had for him and the trust and confidence that they reposed in him. His
Majesty expressed his deep appreciation and assured them that he could not ask for
more from them and that for his part, he, too, fully reciprocated their abiding love,
affection, loyalty, trust and confidence. His Majesty said that the people and the king
were bound together as one in body, speech and mind in their love and devotion to the
nation. As such any testament to that effect would be redundant and unnecessary.
The representatives agreed with His Majesty that a testament was not necessary but
once again insisted that all mention about abdication must be struck off from the
proceedings of the National Assembly.
The Speaker then addressed the Assembly and stated that the most important criteria for
removing the anti-national problem was fulfilled as the lengthy discussions in the
Assembly had clearly confirmed that the government and the people were totally united
in thought and action.
The ministers and senior officials representing the government, the Representatives of
the Central Monk Body and the Rabdeys, the Royal Advisory Councillors and the
People’s Representatives, unanimously resolved, on behalf of the people of Bhutan, that
they, with unwavering loyalty, and out of the purest and most dedicated desire and
determination to further the security and well-being of the TSA-WA-SUM, would take
the full responsibility to ensure that the sacred institution of hereditary monarchy, which
was established by the founding fathers to promote and protect the interests of the
nation, would be maintained for all times to come in Bhutan.
23. Request for forgiveness and assurance of loyalty
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On behalf of all the Lhotsham people, the representative of Chirang submitted that,
having been beguiled and deceived by the evil ngolops, the people were now fully
conscious of the grave mistake they had made by joining the ngolops in anti-national
activities against the TSA-WA-SUM in September, 1990. All the Lhotsham Gups,
Chimis and people sincerely expressed their deepest regret and appealed for forgiveness
of the Royal Government. They pledged from the depth of their hearts and with utmost
sincerity that such uprisings or harmful activities against the TSA-WA-SUM would
never again occur in their Dzongkhags.
To this, several representatives responded that if, indeed, the Lhotsham people were
truly loyal and dedicated to their country and genuinely regretted their actions, the peace
and normalcy in the south would once again return.
The Speaker of the National Assembly remarked that, it was not the deed that was
important but the mind and attitude behind it. He advised the Lhotshampas that they
should learn to differentiate between the healing medicine and the killing poison. If
they wished to be true to themselves, they should commit their full loyalty and
allegiance to their King and Country so that they would never again bring upon
themselves the sad and shameful situation that the rest of the country had been
compelled to share.
V. “BHUTAN’S EXTRADITION ACT, 1991" AND “ENABLING ACT FOR THE
SAARC REGIONAL CONVENTION ON SUPPRESSION OF TERRORISM,
1991”.
On the 22nd of October 1991, the Ministry of Home Affairs submitted a proposal for
the enactment of a law on extradition, “Bhutan’s Extradition Act, 1991". It also
submitted a draft “Enabling Act for the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression
of Terrorism, 1991” for the consideration of the National Assembly.
The Home Minister submitted that the “Bhutan’s Extradition Act, 1991" was necessary
to enable the extradition of persons who had committed serious crimes of extraditable
nature and to implement the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of
Terrorism. The two Acts had been drafted in conformity with International Acts on the
same subject and had been prepared with the co-operation of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. It had also been scrutinized and cleared by the High Court which had ensured
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that these drafts did not, in anyway, deviate from the various provisions of the laws of
the land emanating from the Law of Bhutan. He submitted that it would greatly
enhance the law and order situation in the country if the two drafts could be considered
for approval by the National Assembly and any appropriate amendments made if
required.
The National Assembly then proceeded to study the documents page by page and made
some amendments after a close and thorough scrutiny of each article and its sections.
Having thus completed this process, the National Assembly resolved to approve the two
Acts, thereby bringing them, simultaneously, into force with immediate effect.
The Home Minister expressed his appreciation for the approval of these two Acts. He
also expressed his confidence that, with the two Acts having now been brought into
force, the laws of the land would be greatly strengthened.
Upon the conclusion of deliberations on this subject, the 70th Session of the National
Assembly came to an end.
VI. OBJECTION TO THE DOCUMENTATION OF HIS MAJESTY’S PLEDGE TO
ABDICATE.
During the ratification of the proceedings and resolutions of the 70th Session of the
National Assembly, the members raised a strong protest and objected to the
documenting of His Majesty’s pledge “to abdicate if he did not find a lasting solution to
the ngolop problem”. The members stated that they had repeatedly requested for the
pledge made by His Majesty the King during the deliberations on 17th October to be
deleted from the proceedings and resolutions.
The representatives of the clergy, government and the people registered their strong
protest and reiterated their demands for the particular statement to be deleted. They
stated that its inclusion in the proceedings and resolutions would cause serious dismay
and concern among the people.
His Majesty the King explained that the proceedings and resolutions must faithfully
reflect the deliberations that have taken place. His Majesty told the members that the
pledge made by him was a reflection of his commitment and dedication towards




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