The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Monday, July 3, 2006


Rizal congratulates Nepalis on behalf of the Bhutanese people
A veteran Bhutanese human rights leader, Tek Nath Rizal, has congratulated Nepalis for their courage and determination to fight against authoritarian rule in a peaceful way.
Tek Nath Rizal (File Photo)
In a 'letter to the editor' published in Kantipur daily on Friday, Rizal—who is currently in exile in Nepal—said the Bhutanese refugee community is in Nepal for the last 17 years. "Our days are passing just trying to find out a solution to the problems of Bhutanese refugee issue. We had been very much concerned with deteriorating political situation Nepal since our arrival. We used to think if our attempts would go in vein," he said.
Rizal further said the issue of Bhutanese refugee is deeply associated with the ethnic Nepali communities. "Unless Nepal becomes, strong, the status of Nepalis worldwide would continue to derail. We had been distracted with the internal political players in Nepal who were undermining one another and even involved in violence," he said.
Rizal, however, said the last few weeks in Nepal have remained virtuous. "I and my friends have felt virtuous. Certainly, through people's movement, Nepalis have put them against a form of political structure. To make themselves sovereign and to establish strong foundation of democracy is their sole aim. We pray the Nepalis achieve their goals," he said.
In his open letter, Rizal said people's movement was not for attaining only this. "This has raised the head of all Nepalis around the world. We Bhutanese are proud to be the witness of the interests, unity, strength and dedication shown by all the Nepalis including children, women, professionals of all villages, towns, hills, mountains and terai for political change through recent movement. That was not merely the political movement but a movement for liberation and freedom, which does not have any geographical boundaries," he said.
Rizal further said the wave of people's movement did not remain within Nepal, and will not be so. "It was universal and will be. Whole south Asia got heated up. I don't know, how the historian would describe the people's democratic movement. But I think, its importance is no less than that of the freedom movement of India. The major characteristic of the movement is peaceful, non violence and with a great objective," said Rizal, adding, "The tanks, guns, explosives, batons, boots and other forms of police atrocities remained futile in front of the fearless people."
On behalf of freedom-loving Bhutanese people, Rizal extended hearty congratulations to all the Nepalis including political leaders, cadres and leaders of civil society.
Referring to remarks made by deputy speaker Chitra Lekha Yadav during the `historic' first session of the reinstated House of Representatives on April 28, Rizal urged Nepali MPs to take care of the Bhutanese refugee issue that has been the subject of tension for Nepal for the last one and half decades. When she, as the chief of the sovereign parliament, said the Bhutanese refugee issue was a prime agenda for Nepal, we want to extend thanks to all MPs for that, he said.
Rizal said the Bhutanese refugee community was ready to work with Nepali government, political and civil society leaders and common people to resolve the issue. "At the same time, we expect support and solidarity from the Indian leaders and Indian people--- the same kind of support in our democratic struggle that they have extended to the Nepalis to achieve democracy," he added. May 08 06

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