Bhutanese refugees plan mass march home

Kathmandu, October 6:

As part of the Satyagraha and to draw the international attention, the Bhutanese refugees are currently “working” to organise a “grand peace march” to Bhutan in the “near future” notwithstanding the failure of the recent two peace marches to the country.

A Bhutanese leader said the refugees in the camps of Jhapa and Morang had urged senior human rights Bhutanese leader Tek Nath Rizal to lead the peace march during his short visit to Jhapa last week.

“He (Rizal) has assured us of his part,” the leader said. He, however, declined to divulge details and the date for the march.

This peace march, the leader said, would not be like the previous ones. “This will encompass hundreds of refugees under the leadership of Rizal,” he said, adding, they are currently doing serious homework for the “historic” move.

He further said the refugees would even dare to organise a sit-in at the Mechi bridge if India or Bhutan obstructed the march. Over twenty-three Bhutanese refugees were sent back to camps in Jhapa by the Indian police after they were handed over to them by the Bhutanese police in Phuntsholing, Bhutan recently. The UNHCR has, however, cautioned that such voluntary return would involve risk.