Shameful Stand of Indian Political Leaders in Bhutan Affairs

Nations and the future of all societies rely on the roles of their national leaders or shall we say political actors. Not only that, the future and further mutual relations with neighboring countries and the future of the people in those countries also depends upon the role of National and regional Political leaders. In this context India dominates south Asian politics.

In relation to this fact, unfortunately India seems always to be projecting its passive perceptions towards the Bhutanese refugee problem which was solely created by the Thimpu regime 17 years ago. But in contradiction, India is always backing the cruel and anti people regime through lending its expertise and financial assistance.

Of course, Indian good wishes and blessings are essential for Bhutan to head towards a prosperous future. But that shouldn’t be at the cost of any Bhutanese to abandon his or her country in allegation of being a ‘Non National’. Many who are Bhutanese born, who were brought up and served the nation as saviors are now spending a miserable life in the refugee camps in eastern Nepal. Though the refugees firstly sent to India, abandoning their country Bhutan, due to coercion and intimidation applied on them by the despotic and racial Thimpu palace during 1990’s, the then Indian government forcefully sent them to Nepal.

While the confronting refugee problem is becoing more and more complicated, the extravagant regime is trying to calcify itself promulgating a democratic set up in the country, ignoring 1/6th of its population in exile. How could a democracy be fruitful when its own people are starving for the same outside the country?

India is praising all the negative developments activated by the Thimpu palace, ignoring the opposing forces in exile. On 9th June 2007, Indian foreign minister Mr.Pranav Mukharjee solicited for peace and calm saying that ‘if the refugees in Nepal get back to Bhutan, there will be demographic imbalance in the region.’

What does his statement mean? Where should these Bhutanese go and settle, to prevent Mr.Mukharjee’s so-called ‘demographic imbalance?’ Is the issue of creating stateless people around the region calling them ‘non nationals’, done to prevent that ‘demographic imbalance?’ Does Mr. Mukharjee Sahab have the answer to these questions? Or does he now say that was his personal view, not a statement given as an Indian foreign minister?

All Indian political parties should act on his statement urgently; otherwise it seems there will be a hindrance for solving the refugee problem through peaceful process. Any unwanted debris of political misconduct around south Asia hampers the peace and harmony of India, Nepal, Bhutan and others. So, as regional guardian of democracy, leaders of the giant India should play a proactive role for solving the issue giving it the utmost priority and importance.

The West Bengal government alone cannot address the whole of this invaded Bhutanese population, solving their problem and forwarding it to an amicable solution. We expect all the political parties in India instead of relying on the provocative intelligence reports should think seriously on the matter and activate their expertise towards positive directions.

If not, some of the forces which have been created and are now in hibernation, will oversome the forces demanding a ‘peaceful solution.’ The result will certainly be division within all the factors including the Indian passive stance towards refugees regarding the Thimpu Palace as ‘Bishnu Lok’ mentioned in myths.

Actual categorization of Thimpu palace and the present ruling elite if impartially defined can be ‘anti-humanity and power hungry gang of hooligans.’ Because all the responsible portfolios in the King’s patronized democracy are anti people and pro government. There will be no government without citizens but Thimpu is favoring that situation.

Thimpu now proclaims it is upgrading its self branded ‘gross national happiness’, but hiding the plight of its people for real and pure democratic values oriented towards the people’s aspirations.

Yes, obviously there might be some mistakes from refugee’s side. It should also be accepted, but not in the cost of their citizenship status and identity crisis. Thimpu palace apparently wants to strengthen this policy and continue its unilateral and self centred practices calcifying them in so-called democratic polish.

The people evicted and intimidated presently inside the country will jointly decide to change the tortuous history of Bhutan’s family centered and inter quarreled politics as practiced by the ruling elite ignoring the needs and wants of the people.

Thus India must realize all these situations and react on it. Simply talking on the prolonged refugee agenda won’t bring a fruitful result. Refugees want to be back to their own previous lands and homesteads in a dignified manner. There must not be any + and – in their needs and aspirations as well.

Recently Mr.Sitaram Yechuri, a high profiled CPIM leader and Devprashad Tripathi, said to be an NCP leader, have hinted some positive thoughts towards this protracted problem. So we expect, all the Indian political parties will come together and pave the way for its peaceful, durable and comprehensive solution. There is no alternative other than a dignified return of refugees, for peaceful and long-lasting solution of the Bhutanese refugee problem.

Now Bhutanese refugees have been fragmented by a proposal of re-settlement in USA which is said to be laid by the American government to foil the democratic struggle in Bhutan. But the majority of the refugees have been insisting on repatriation and dignified status inside their native country.

America presently sought permission in Bhutan to establish its embassy and a unit of the world trade center. For that cost it has obliged to take the burden of Bhutanese refugees to settle them in USA. If these claim gone to the fact then it will not favor south Asia and its people. Indian political leaders must think coolly on this matter, because they portray themselves as guardians of Asian democracy and as well guiding regional powers.

Please, let us have no rumors and provocation on the side of refugees from the West Bengal government, which always intends to confront the issue using its provocative security institutions and barring the refugees from their justice. India’s government centrally claims there is a good relationship between Thimpu and Delhi, so the problem must be addressed only by Nepal.

If India thinks seriously that the bilateral relation between these two nations must be kept vital for longer future, then they also must realize the fact of essentiality for mutual understanding between the people of these two countries. Relations between a large democracy and a despotic King’s ruled country won’t live forever. Indian leaders should have realized this fact earlier. But, it is ‘better less than nothing’; India now should realize and act proactively on this issue.