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BHUTAN: Distribution of Maoist document in refugee camps: should be cause for concern. Update 30


Note No. 183                        02.05.2003

by Dr. S. Chandrasekharan 

In the name of Bhutan Communist Party of Bhutan, a detailed but well written document has been in circulation in all the refugee camps of Nepal.

Some excerpts including the ten point demand are given below.

The revolutionary International Movement (RIM) and the worldwide warring communist groups, which are affiliated with the "RIM" and other revolutionary communist parties, have a leading role. In the context of Bhutan, an active communist party under a dynamic leadership, following the bright path of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism is waging the long-term peoples’ war, for the establishment of Peoples’ Democracy, if necessary.

…..For the establishment of democracy and human rights in Bhutan, a number of parties and organizations were formed and struggled in their own way and some of them have been still struggling. But in conclusion, there are no solid and productive consequences of their struggle, even though we should not suspect on their struggle and determination. However, due to their wrong and illusive outlook towards sources, causes and effects of the problems, the line of their struggles was misguided. Without the scientific thoughts there will not be true solution of any problem. The present scientific philosophy and principles are no other than Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism. Therefore being equipped with the spirit of guiding principle of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and following the minimum policies and programmes of the new democracy with the aim of accomplishing the new principles’ revolution in a long term peoples’ war, determined to reach the final goal of communism via socialism, we declare our great glorious Bhutan Communist Party at this juncture.

Demands for the Peasant Brothers and Sisters:

1. Bhutan Government must declare sovereign democracy and guarantee people’s rights and freedoms.

2. Bhutan Government must repatriate all its citizens with dignity and honor.

3. Bhutan Government must guarantee with acceptance in principle of right to self-determination.

4. Following the principle of "Land for the people", distribute the lands to poor peasants and landless farmers.

5. Bhutan Government must fix the minimum wage of Nu. 150/- per day. Also the emergency fund for forthcoming catastrophe, health insurance and shelter must be guaranteed.

6. Guarantee all fundamental rights of women and equal judgment.

7. Bhutan Government must guarantee cost free education and employment.

8. Guarantee democratic and employment oriented education.

9. Do away with all the draconian laws and acts reconstruct new democratic laws and constitution.

10. Guarantee the freedom of Speech, Press, freedom to travel within the territory of country.


Down with!  Monarchy

Down with!  Feudalism, Imperialism, Expansionanism

Long live!  Peasant’s movement of Bhutan

Long live!  Our unity in the world communist movement

Long live! Proletariat’s internationalism

Long live! Marxism, Leninism, Maoism

Long live! Unity of all the exploited racial and linguistic community of Bhutan

Be United! Patriotic, Democratic and Leftist forces

Long live! Bhutan Communist Party of Bhutan

This document is purported to have been issued after a meeting of the party that took place on 22nd April at Siliguri. The place Siliguri, it may be recalled was the venue chosen by the leftist parties to meet Prachanda Chairman of CPN (ML. Maoist) of Nepal in the middle of August 2001 and 22nd April happens to be the birth anniversary of Lenin.

Nepal Samacharpatra daily has reported that an appeal in the name of Bhutanese Communist Party (Marxist Leninist) in circulation has an anti Indian content. Accusing the Bhutanese regime of going down the path of "Sikkimization" and selling out to India on vital issues, the Maoists have urged the people to involve themselves for a long term people’s war and that the party will adopt the strategy of taking over villages and encircling the towns. It has urged India to cooperate fruitfully in repatriating the refugees and that it is opposed to ethnic cleansing and discrimination. One of the objectives of the Party is said to be the overthrow of  monarchy in Bhutan.

This document should be a cause for concern firstly to the refugee leaders who have in the last twelve years have avoided the temptation of politicising the refugee issue, secondly  to India and the monarchy in Bhutan.  The leaders in the camps despite the tardy approach in verification and repatriation had managed to keep the frustration of the younger elements of the camps within reasonable control. Any politicisation and that too by an extremist group will be a major set back to the cause of the refugees as only now there are some perceptible though slow moves towards repatriation.

In our earlier updates we have mentioned the danger of the youths joining the Maoists.

In our update of 16, we have reported the following.

The Maoists and the Refugees: Despite the propaganda of Kuensel and the chorus one sees in the National assembly proceedings in Bhutan, the Bhutanese in the camps indulge in no political activity. There are signs that this situation may soon change as there are too many frustrated youths now who have no employment and are uncertain of their future. Some disturbing trends are

* The regions surrounding the seven camps are all hot beds of communist activity.

* Till last year UNHCR through Caritas were funding the higher education of students who pass the tenth standard. From this year this has been stopped. These youths have nothing to do and are good material for extremist activities.

* Some of the teachers from the camps who found jobs outside the camps have been forced to return to the camps by the Maoists who of late have become very active in Jhapa once again. Probably the Maoists want a quid pro quo for allowing the teachers to teach outside.

* There is an unconfirmed information that over two hundred youths have joined the Maoists. The figure is a little high but it is certain that more than fifty have joined the Maoist ranks and more are likely to join. By this, youths get training and soon many elders may come to think that it will be an asset later.

In our update of 17 we had this to say.

The Maoists are looking for recruits amongst refugees: In our last update we had mentioned that youths of the camps numbering more than fifty have joined the Maoist ranks and more are likely to join.  We have since received information that the youths in camps at Goldhop and Beldangi are being forced to join their ranks.  The Maoists representatives are telling the youths that they are wasting their time doing nothing and that they should join the movement.  A few clashes have taken place near these camps.  It is a question of time before more youths join.  Even if the youths do not stay for long with the Maoists they would get necessary arms training, an experience which in the long run is not good for either Nepal or Bhutan or even India.

It is therefore not surprising and quite possible that with the cease fire in Nepal in place, the Maoists could be targeting Bhutan. This should be cause for concern for India too. For too long, the Indian government pretended as if it had nothing to do with the Bhutanese refugees over 100,000 in number languishing in eastern Nepal. It took the stand that it was a bilateral problem to be settled by the two countries though both had special relations with India. It would have been in India’s interest to settle the problem early and it is still not too late.

One could be tempted to point an accusing finger at King of Bhutan as he could use it to freeze all moves towards repatriation.  But  it looks that there is a serious attempt of Maoists to repeat Nepal in Bhutan. It is upto the refugee leaders in Nepal, the Bhutan King and India to ensure that the current move of some of the misguided elements in the camps is nipped in the bud.