Tuesday, June 29, 2010


भुटानी मानवाधिकारवादी संगठन (ह्युरोव) का अध्यक्ष एस वी सुव्वाले भुटानमा अहिले भइरहेको जनगणनाको बारेमा एउटा विश्लेषणात्मक लेख लेखेका छन् । अंग्रेजी भाषामा लेखिएको उक्त लेख जस्ताको तस्तै

                                    FROM THE HORSE MOUTH

The most pernicious and contentious census has now started pricking the mind of the other northern Bhutanese too. In 1990s it was only to the Lhotsampas (Nepali speaking southern Bhutanese), the exercise was laden and rest of the northern fellowmen felt well ensconced and any error deliberately or inadvertently committed by the census and immigration department was never questioned as it was affecting only a particular race, the Lhotsamaps. They even did not empathized the pain and mental trauma that a Lhotsampas neighbour was undergoing and unjustly uprooted by omission and commission of the census from the ancestral land. Instead, busy themselve grabbing the jersey cows, other cattle, grains, pots, pans etc. So much so that the then Chukha Dzongda Major Penjore collected 13 gas cylinder lest to say about other valuable articles and the dzongdas in other five districts. Many have become rich over night. However, still they do not have to face the wrath of the census officials like the Lhotsampas.
At least, they should realise now that even if they who are supposed to be indigenous are harassed, how much the Lhotsampas would have faced the wrath of census officials’ harassment and humiliation when government machineries were against them. If it were Lhotsampas, the census officials would have ordered either to go to Jhapa or now to America. The incessant census implement that was grossly applied in the case of Lhotsampas was the principle genesis of the Bhutanese refugees. After 20 years, it is interesting to know that the frank-en-stein monster has at least started scathing others although it will not gore like the Lhotsamaps.
The kuensel report on title “New Register strewn with Errors” reveals that how the Bhutan civil registration system is full of errors. The registers were issued in 2002-03 which people call “dangerous”. Even the director of the department Dorji Norbu accepted the mistakes.There are long list of mistakes like wrong name, incorrect date of birth, dropped from the family member census register, wrong name spelling, age, genders, house number etc. The block heads (gup) do not rely or refer to the government format census for any authentication. They use their own hand written record registers which are more accurate and moreover they know the people personally. The director is making a lame excuse that the formats were made in hurry to carry out the census for election. One can surmise, how many mistakes were intentionally made in a hurry to evict in the case of Lhotsamapas census which were premeditatedly designed with ill intention to deprive the nationality and citizenship although living there for generations. Does he know that such callousness is ruining the individuals and ruined thousands of Lhotsamaps? If so what was the nationwide census in 2005? Supposedly the main purpose was to determine the voter numbers for election in 2008 and to establish scientific system of maintaining information data. How could he pre-empted the election that was held in 2008 and even the announcement was made only in 2007. Now the cat is out of the bag that how about 80000 Lhotsampas were deprived from their voting rights and still their census hangs in the air. During the census in southern Bhutan in 1988/89, no consideration was made even for a difference of name spelling or difference of alphabetic character though they were the one and responsible to enumerate and maintain records in the office. As they are/were not familiar with pronunciation of names of the Lhotsampas and many other terminologies, there were many mistakes which they denied acceptance and stroked the names from the census registers and declared non-nationals and out- right ordered to leave the country. They did not take into confidence the mondals’ (Gup) records or village elders’ testimony. They rigidly followed their own way categorizing people at random and whims that in a family, there were seven categories of people like father in F1, mother in F4, one son in F1 and another son of same parent in F7 (non-Bhutanese). The census were conducted not less than six times in a year in the southern six districts in the 90s harassing the Lhotsampas and declaring non-Bhutanese even on a silly ground. And the king Jigme Singye Wangchuk exalted them with ranks and favours for successful in evicting maximum Lhotsampas. The killer Samtse Dzongda Lhakpa Dorji, who snatched a SLR (self loading rifle) from a army officer and indiscriminately fired at the crowd gathered for peaceful meeting injuring many and killing Dil Bahadur ghaley on the spot was awarded red scarf (honourable rank) and promoted to secretary level and who later also went free after killing a monk in Mongar district when demonstrating for democracy and human rights. The then chief justice of high court and now the chief justice of supreme court Sonam Tobgye could not punish him. Even the king Jigme Singye Wangchuk could not order punishment when Lhakpa Dorji defended himself and resisted saying that the king accolade him when killing the Lhotsampa anti-nationals and how could he be punished for killing similar Sarchop anti-national. When he threatened to bring out in public the king’s policy and order to evict Lhotsampas in the secret meeting of all dzongdas (district chiefs), Royal Bhutan army chief, Police Chief, ministers and census department head held in Punakha, he was placated and just stripped of his post to eyewash the public and International community but perennially enjoying government salary and emoluments.

Of late we started seeing the feeling of the impact of the spark of the census on some northern Bhutanese especially married with the southern Bhutanese girls and lapses in the census record. Such feelings are though not dared to express in public for fear of target of the census department and persecution but one can find abundant in the forum column of the Kuensel, the mouth piece of the government. The victims have even accused the census officials of their attitude and arrogance in dealing with the public and warning that would one day create terrorism in provocation to their over jingoistic behaviour. We have been for last 20 years crying foul of census and victimization with no patient listeners as Bhutan government has been aptly eluding simply alleging us with catch word of non-Bhutanese or economic migrants. Now let us see what the whole Bhutanese and the International community has to say on the same census used as instrument to victimize and evicted us when the lapses and mistakes are being spelt from the horse mouth.


Human Rights Organisation of Bhutan (HUROB)

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