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Archive for the ‘BHUTAN’ Category

Rise of Red-army in the Last Shangri-La

Posted by ajadhind on January 27, 2011

 

By TP Mishra
Unlike in Nepal and India, they are still unfamiliar to the outside world. The red Maoists have just unfurled its flag in Bhutan, and have set the alarm bell of a new threat in the Eastern Himalayas.
Like the other South Asia countries, the secluded Dragon Kingdom too has started to witness Maoist movement, a political battle, aimed at abolishing the Monarchy from the last Shangri-La.


A series of bomb explosions mostly in the southern periphery of the Himalayan Kingdom, where majority of Nepali-speaking people dwell, during the last couple of years, is the announcement that the comrade-in-arms of the radical Communists are now looking for a political change.
The 2008 political transformation in Bhutan—from an absolute monarchy to a “constitutional monarchy” has been dubbed as an eye-wash by the Maoists. The red-brigade is determined to achieve a Nepal-like situation—establishment of Bhutan as a republic.
Formed on April 22, 2003, Communist Party of Bhutan, Marxists-Leninists-Maoists (CPB-MLM) is led by general secretary Comrade Vikalpa (literally means `alternative’). Birth of the radical Communist group came to fore after posters and pamphlets were first pasted couple of years ago mostly in the UNHCR-monitored seven refugee camps in eastern districts of Nepal.
Beginning of Maoist movement was natural in Bhutan as more than one hundred thousands genuine Nepali-speaking Bhutanese citizens have been living as “refugees” in Nepal since early 1990s due to forcible mass eviction from their villages in Bhutan. Doubtlessly, frustration due to long and unimproved living in refugee camps has largely contributed for many youths’ direct involvement in the CPB-MLM.
The Bhutanese Maoists announced their war after it faxed a 13-point demand to the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) on March 22, 2007, almost four years after the formal declaration of party. The demands stressed the need to introduce people’s democracy replacing monarchy, guarantee multi-party democracy, repatriation of the refugees with honor and dignity to their original homes and release all political prisoners.
Though their activities in Bhutan hardly existed in media light, they triumphantly boosted the party potency in refugee camps—either through closed door meetings, publications, mass gatherings or community-focused cultural shows. Their pro-people cultural shows in Bhutan, aimed at raising public awareness during the time of Hindus’ great festivals like the Dashain and Deepawali were, however, frequently generalized.

The Party has frequently claimed that they carried out the similar activities in 16 districts of Bhutan on the same day. This, however, is still at odds since it was neither reported by any media nor any strapping substantiation has substituted it, mainly from Vikapa’s side.
Tactically, Bhutanese Maoists are operating like the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-Maoists). The protracted People’s War, in their own words, is divided into three strategic phases—defense, balance and counter attack. Defense is again divided into three sub-phases: preparation, commencement and continuation. The preparation phase is again divided into four phases—ideological, organizational, technical and related to struggle.
CPB-MLM is operating with donation collection. They launch various fund-raising programs including cultural shows and direct donation from those having good income sources. All Bhutan People’s Cultural Forum, amongst at least half a dozen sister wings, organized a cultural program and a drama titled Paristhiti Le Janmaeko Lakshya (Goal Created by Circumstances) at the Nepal Academy in Kathmandu on May 10, 2007. They collected an estimated thirty thousand Nepalese rupees from tickets sales.
Due to ideological differences, now the party is believed to be divided into two factions–one led by Vikalpa and the other by Birat. A clear majority voice from the central committee members ousted Vikalpa from party’s brain-box position on January 20, 2008. He has been accused of being “opportunist”.
They are strongly guided by Mao’s doctrine of `encircling city from village.’ This should serve as one reason why the deviated faction of the same party led by Birat that waged arms for the first time in Bhutan on January 3, 2008 termed it `armed rural class struggle’.
LinksThe decade long arm struggle by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists), now UCPN-Maoists, in Nepal is one of their major sources for motivation. Nepal Weekly, one of Nepal’s largest magazines, ran a special report by Deepak Adhikari on rise in communism in Bhutan in 2007. Quoting unnamed source, the report disclosed that Nepali Maoists have provided ideological and material assistance to them. Also, cadres of CPB-MLM have a common say – Maoists around the globe have common ideology and they support each other.

If the findings in this national magazine were to be fact-based, it has mentioned that the senior leaders of UCPN-Maoists imparted training in firearms, ideology and cultural issues to their Bhutanese comrades.
Both of the party’s direct links with Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPASA), as they are members, could be one basis of their closeness in exchanging good-will carry—both logistic and materials. Local leaders of UCPN-Maoists are often seen as guest speaker during the CPB-MLM’s mass meeting in refugee camps. CPB-MLM actively participated in an international seminar organized by Nepali Maoists in the last week of December 2006.
The weekly magazine also quoted CP Gajurel `Gaurav’, who is now secretary of UCPN-M, as saying “we are very close, for we follow the same ideology in the first place and they are also people of Nepali origin in the second.” He had disclosed that most of the CPB-MLM leaders were trained and inspired by the People’s War of Nepal. According to Gajurel, they are helping the Bhutanese Maoists in guerrilla warfare strategy and working policy.
In 2003, Nepalese security forces had arrested several cadres of CPB-MLM, whom the party later described as their “well-wishers”, for having direct links with Nepali Maoists and were sternly interrogated.
Securing Indian support is a must for any parties in Bhutan—be it the one carrying peaceful agendas or the one claiming to be revolutionary outfit, to strengthen their call for democracy in Bhutan. A report by BBC on November 14, 2008 (India-Bhutan rebel link exposed) articulates this fact.
The separatist United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) – the former fighting for Assam’s independence and the latter for an independent homeland for Bodo people – had more than 30 bases in southern Bhutan. The bases were demolished by the Royal Bhutan Army during the Operation All-Clear in December 2003.
During police interrogation, Tenzing Zangpo, a leader of the Druk National Congress had disclosed about Bhutanese Maoists’ “close links” with rebels in Assam since his party, as per Zangpo, had links with Maoist movement in Bhutan. Zangpo was arrested in by the Assam police for his alleged involvement in October 2008 blasts in Assam that killed 84 people.
Political analyst and senior Bhutanese leader R. P. Subba, who is now in USA, says reciprocation for India’s soft approach towards the Bhutanese dissidents during their initial days of the pro-democracy movement, the Bhutanese regime invited and sheltered various Indian militant insurgents in the Bhutanese soil in the early 1990s. This alliance was built on a stream of mutual interests between the Royal government of Bhutan and the north east militants.
Interestingly, a book titled `Bhutanese Communist Movement: Brief Study of Essence’ by “Vigyan”, central committee member of the Birat-faction of CPB-MLM have flatly denied their connection with Indian radical force. In an e-mail interview with the writer of this piece, Vikalpa, however, claims about their working relation with radical forces in India
OperationsSoon after Vikalpa was ousted from the party, the Birat-led CPB-MLM rocked the kingdom with a series of bombs on the night of February 3, 2008 in Samtse district which damaged the materials brought by the Druk government for the National Assembly election. Their call for arm-launch against the monarchy, thus, was called `armed rural class struggle’.
Vikalpa’s MLM also separately marked the start of arm revolt against the absolute regime with twin blasts, one near Nainital Primary School in Samtse district and another near the Damchen Petroleum depot in Chukha on June 5, 2008. No human casualties were reported, however, a central committee member of the latter faction was detained by the Royal Bhutan Army.
Besides Maoists groups, two other groups—United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan (URFB) and Bhutan Tigers Force (BTF) are also actively seen for plantation of explosives in Bhutan at various times.
The URFB had exploded serial bomb between January 20 and March 20, 2008 in Thimpu, Chukha, Dagana and Samtse as warnings to the Bhutan Government and for a response to resolve all the impending problems before any significant political changes.
The two bomb blasts in Sibsoo police station of Samchi district on March 20, 2008 at about 12.45 and 01.12 p.m. was the sequel of three blasts since January 20, 2008. This was the third blast of the URFB within time span of five days in the wake to foil the first general election in the country on March 24, 2008. A blast near Singay village in Sarpang district on December 30, 2008 claimed the lives of four leaving two injured.

Cadres of CPB-MLM in a closed-door meeting in refugee camp. Photo/E-kantipur
The BTF is often seen actively involved in raising awareness about the armed struggle through pamphlets and posters in the Himalayan country. The frequent hoisting of the communist flag in the southern districts has been publicised by the Druk media. The hit-and-run operations indicate that the armed struggle in Bhutan will continue unless an amicable solution is not found at the earliest possible.
Though it is difficult to claim the cooperation between the insurgent outfits, but their common minimal program seems to launch an armed struggle against the absolute regime. However, both the BTF and the URFB are not ideology-driven.
In the wake to address the immediate demand to daunt the Maoists attacks, the government arrested at least 39 civilians in December 27, 2007 from southern part of the country for their alleged involvement in radical Communist movement. The government imprisoned them ranging from 5-9 years jail term. The CPB-MLM has denied the involvement of those detainees in their party.
The Royal government introduced volunteers to patrol at night in early 2008. Each household had to send a volunteer to patrol every night. They used to check on schools, hospitals and other public places. This is not a fair initiation of the government to counter armed attacks. Innocent civilians should not be used as shield in the name of fighting armed rebellion. Rather, the government should resolve the issues politically.
Initially, the CPB-MLM cadres opposed the resettlement scheme, brought up by the UNHCR and US government, and even camp residents were threatened to boycott the process. The Birat-led faction of the MLM outfit claims that several cadres who used to work with ousted Vikalpa have already reached western countries under third country resettlement process. An estimated 26 thousands have been already resettled in seven different western countries including the US.

The Class Struggle, a news bulletin published by the Vikalpa faction of MLM. The paper is widely circulated inside camps. Photo/Author
If Comrade Birat and his cadres are true, there is a strong possibility that a section of the resettled Bhutanese refugees, after attaining financial independence, would extend full support to the Maoists groups, and plunge Bhutan towards a bloody war.
Monarchy Vs CommunismRise of communism in Bhutan pose obvious threat to the Monarchy, if the present political system goes unaddressed for some more years. Right decision on wrong time often pushes the country to political turmoil. No where in histories we find monarchy and communism standing on the same political platform.
The RGOB should not escape from furnishing a peaceful solution through dialogue, and this is the right time. It must see what is happening in neighboring countries – the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The decade-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal could be a better lesson. The Bhutan government should try to resolve its political problem before it is too late.
Senior Nepali journalist Dhruba Hari Adhikari sees Bhutanese monarchy bordered with threats if ascend in communism keeps its expedited pace. “At the moment, New Delhi is protecting Bhutanese monarch but once people rise up, I don’t think it can be stopped for ever.”
Peaceful means can never be replaced by any other forms of struggle for the establishment of democracy and human rights in any country. Yet, with the rise of communism in the last Shangri-La, a bigger challenge may end the Druk monarchy if all Bhutanese revolutionary outfits, by chance, come to a single platform and wage a bigger arms struggle.

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Bhutanese reporter is imprisoned

Posted by ajadhind on January 28, 2009

By Subir Bhaumik BBC News,

Calcutta It is argued that Mr Acharya did not have fair legal representation A Bhutanese journalist has been jailed for seven years for alleged links to a Maoist group, officials say. Officials confirmed reports from an exiled Bhutanese media group that Shantiram Acharya, 20, was sentenced after returning to the country. Mr Acharya worked for the monthly Bhutan Reporter and had been living in exile in Nepal before his return. The Bhutanese High court found him “guilty of involvement in subversive activities” against Bhutan. It said that police had furnished evidence of Mr Acharya participating in a military training course organised by the outlawed Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist). This group is largely made up of Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin who have been living in camps in Nepal for two decades. Bhutan has blamed it for a series of explosions in the southern districts of the country in recent months. The party is banned in Bhutan. Photographs According to the Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) Bhutan, an exiled Bhutanese media group based in Kathmandu, Mr Acharya was arrested in 2007 when he visited Bhutan to meet his relatives after a long stay in Nepal. The APFA alleged that he was kept in secret detention for almost two months and tortured by police to extract a confession. Bhutanese police are believed to have found photographs of army outposts in Mr Acharya’s possession, which they think were taken to plan attacks. The APFA says that Mr Acharya was only convicted because he could not hire a lawyer to defend himself as he had no money and there are few independent lawyers in Bhutan. It says the case must be reviewed and Mr Acharya defended by independent lawyers in a fresh trial if Bhutan wants to convince the world it is a genuine democracy. The Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist) has however denied any link with Mr Acharya, saying in a press release this week that the jailed reporter was never a member of the party. Bhutan held parliamentary elections last year and officially became a constitutional monarchy, although many believe the king still has substantial powers.

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Bhutan: Journalist sentenced for seven and a half years – accused of supporting Maoists

Posted by ajadhind on January 24, 2009

Kathmandu, Jan 21st 2009 A 20-year-old exiled journalist of Nepali origin has been sentenced to jail for seven and a half years for terrorist activities by the royal government of Bhutan even as the party in question denied having any links with him.

 

Shantiram Acharya, who used to work for the Bhutan Reporter, a monthly newspaper brought out amidst great hardship by Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal, received the sentencing by Bhutan’s high court for being allegedly involved in subversive activities against the Druk kingdom, including participating in military training conducted by the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoist)  in Nepal, an armed underground organisation that is banned in Bhutan and believed to be operating from Nepal and India to end Bhutan’s hereditary monarchy.

According to the Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) Bhutan, an exiled Bhutanese media group based in Kathmandu, Acharya, a Bhutanese of Nepali origin who was living in the refugee camps in eastern Nepal, was arrested in 2007 when he visited Bhutan to meet his relatives.

Acharya was kept in secret detention for almost two months and tortured by police to extract a confession, APFA said. According to the exiled media group, the Bhutan police charge sheet said he was arrested for taking photographs of an outpost of the Royal Bhutan Army.

APFA also said it believed Acharya was convicted because he could not hire an attorney to defend him as Bhutan does not have any independent attorney. Also, he had no money since he was produced in the court without the knowledge of his family members.

Though the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist Leninist Maoist), from whom Bhutan police said Acharya had received arms training, said it had no association with the exiled reporter, the denial was not heeded by the Bhutanese court.

Condemning the charges and the verdict by court, which APFA said was controlled by the state, the media group is asking the Bhutan government to open the case for review and let the 20-year-old hire an independent attorney.

It is also asking for the jailed journalist’s whereabouts to be made public.

In November 2008, Bhutan was catapulted into world attention as it celebrated the crowning of its fifth king, the 28-year-old Oxford-educated Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.

The crowning was projected as another step towards democracy by the isolated Druk kingdom as the previous king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, abdicated in favour of his son.

The change of guard is viewed with mixed feelings by over 100,000 Bhutanese of Nepali origin who have been languishing in Nepal for nearly two decades since their expulsion from Bhutan during a crackdown on ethnic communities.

While some of the refugees hope the new king will show a human face and re-open talks with Nepal for their repatriation, others however feel that the old king still continues to wield power and the abdication and drafting of the first-ever constitution are a facade to placate foreign donors who want Bhutan to respect human rights.

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Press release from Communist party of Bhutan.

Posted by ajadhind on June 24, 2008

I got my hands on one press release from the Communist Party of Bhutan – Maoist. It is dated February 02, 2008.

Here’s what it says in general, with “raktim abhivadan” (red salute, I reckon)

“In the changing political scenario of Bhutan, the Communist Party of Bhutan – Maoists has also changed its strategies. CPB – Maoist, which considers all the parties against the monarchy as cohorts, has decided to take brutal actions against those parties that try to harm this party.”

Then it lists out the “Present Targets for Physical Action” that are –

Block Chiefs (Gup) and their allies living on the land of refugees (in Bhutan) and ruling over the people.
Government officials and Indian traders that have alliance with the state and are engaged in commission-ism.

The press release also states “the CPB Maoists has decided to take a vicious physical action against one unidentified Moto Rai of Beldangi 3 for attempting to disrupt the party’s people’s revolution.”

I suppose that Beldang 3 means the Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal and the party is taking in a lot of inspiration from what CPN Maoists did during the insurgency in Nepal.

recieved via mail by bhutan kranthikari.

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Bhutan communist party

Posted by ajadhind on February 14, 2008

recieved via mail 

February 13th 2008

The number of underground political parties and organisations being
active in Bhutanese society has reached nine.

These parties include Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist),
Bhutan Communist Party (Maoist), Bhutan Tigers Force, Cobra Bhuan Party,
Bhutan Kopra Party, Black Cat, All Bhutan Revolutionary Peasants’
Association, All Bhutan Revolutionary Students’ Association and Bhutan
Republican Youth Association.
Some of these parties claim that they have launched people’s movement in
Bhutan.
Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist), which claims to be an
organised party, recently divided into two factions — Birat and
Bikalpa.
Surya, who leads the Bhutan Communist Party (Maoists), said the armed
struggle in Bhutan is in the final phase now.
The Bhutan Tigers Force has stated that their major demand is the
removal of security posts from refugee camps and said the party was
against third country resettlement process.

The Revolutionary Peasants’ Association and the All Bhutan Revolutionary
Students’ Association claim that they are the sister organisations of
the Bhutan Communist Party (Maoist). “We support the agitation of the
Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist),” central member of the
Bhutan Republican Youth Association Bhaskar said.

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Bhutanese Maoists launch class struggle

Posted by ajadhind on February 14, 2008

Communist Party of Bhutan (CPB-MLM) led by Birat has owned up responsibility to the explosion that took place in Samtse district inside Bhutan yesterday night, reported refugee-run new agency Bhutan News Service.According to the report, Central Committee Member of the party who identified himself as ‘John’ over a telephone conversation from undisclosed location quoted a press release issued today by Birat, general secretary of CPB-MLM, as saying that the party has begun launching ‘armed rural class struggle’ inside Bhutan to establish people’s government. John further informed that the party would launch program in three phases that include resettlement of Bhutanese people occupying the land and properties used by evictees of early 1990s, taking physical action against those spying against their democratic struggle, and deconstruction of government infrastructures in rural areas of the country. CPB-MLM has also claimed that their Sunday attack damaged all properties meant for the upcoming necessary National Assembly election scheduled for March 24 that was kept at Renewal Natural Resources (RNR) office in Ghumauney gewog inside Bhutan. John further quoted Birat’s press release as terming their armed lunch as a ‘first successful attack’.A bomb had exploded behind the Renewal Natural Resources (RNR) office in Ghumauney gewog at midnight on Sunday.The RNR office was used as a polling station during the first phase of upper house election on December 31 and has been used as residence by returning officer and the national officer deployed for National Assembly election scheduled for March 24.

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