Yuva - India

Ethnic cleansing in Bhutan

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The condition of Bhutan operating within the crisis and the elections this week, in the Himalayan region, delineate a manoeuvre known as ethnic cleansing. A look into the history of the term deals with the notion of removal of ethnic Nepali and the Lhotshampa from the country of Bhutan.

 A sneak peek into the story of ethnic cleansing also highlights the status of Hinduism globally. Since the early 90s, the Hindu ethnic Nepali speaking Bhutanese had to face a lot of difficulties, be it the prohibition of following their culture and religion or be it the forceful eviction from the country via army, police, and other forces.

 After the eviction, many of the immigrants had to see their fate as residing in refugee camps in the eastern part of Nepal while many settled in other countries like Australia, Canada, Netherland, Norway, United Kingdom. From wearing the traditional dress to speaking their language, that is Nepali, was also banned in Bhutan under the ascendancy of the Buddhist. People also feared wearing their traditional caps on their head.

Prohibition of any rules would lead to very merciless treatment and even the ones who was against it were termed as “anti- nationals”. According to Amnesty International, subjection to harsh treatment and the arresting of the people by the forces were very common.

 The migrated Hindus to the anti-nationals were felt to achieve freedom of rights and freedom in all aspects including religious and cultural freedom. There are many cases where people, evicted from their motherland and made deprived of citizenship rights, were considered to hold enmity with Bhutan. Following one’s own culture was like violating the national stability for them.

 Sources have said that ethnic cleansing led to people staying in Nepal as refugees for a long period. Some people also agreed that the conflicts are not only on ethnic grounds but also on religious grounds. Despite being the epitome of peace and harmony, the ethnic clashes in Bhutan had led to the “One-nation, one-people” policy in 1985. The ethnic clash started from early 1986.

 It had also been portrayed that the commencement of constitutional monarchy in 2008 still holds the perspective of the Lhotshampa as the immigrants who were deprived of their citizenship from their own country.

 With context to the present time, the elections being held in the Himalayan region of Bhutan are not supposed to change anything as said by the sources. Moreover, the actions and regulations are supposed to hold dominance in the hands of monarchy rule.

 Banning national unity is highly encouraged which means putting a ban on other parties that subject to a disturbance in the elections on grounds of ethnic or religious perspective. They said no such use of ethnic power would influence the elections. Moreover, this was supposed to violate the national stability of the country.

 Not only this, even the organizations by Nepal or by the Nepali speaking, mostly the Hindu minority, were also banned during elections. They perceived any such initiatives to disturb the national unity of the country by including ethnic actions. Being adjudged they were (Nepali speaking) also made to depart from the polling centres.

 Ethnic cleansing is still questioned upon many bases whether the dispute is ethnic or religious or both and its effect on national stability.

Supriya Rani

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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