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Published:July 24th, 2007 04:08 EST
Fight for Justice Desperate Bhutan, Offers Land Cede to India

Fight for Justice Desperate Bhutan, Offers Land Cede to India

By I P Adhikari

Jan Paulsson in his book Denial of Justice in International Law (2005) stated that ‘a State incurs responsibility if it administers justice to aliens in a fundamentally unfair manner.” To elaborate the practice of justice delivery of the state mechanism for centuries, tracing the instances since 1938, Paulsson states that denial of justice has become much more important in a world where international fora are no longer the exclusive province.

Additionally, he explores three dimensions in the modern developments in international law that have made denial of justice more salient such as state responsibility for judicial conduct, the imputing of state responsibility to the action of all state non-judicial officials or entities, and the dramatic increase in access to international law by individuals.

Longing for justice panics the rulers and they are ready to do anything that can save their stronghold in national politics. It has been learned and taught that rulers’ foremost task would be to protect the integrity of the state and bring about harmony in the country.

The story of the Bhutan has come to a distinct example of the result of justice denial. Justice delayed is justice denial is a cliché quoted much and now it has a significant meaning in Bhutanese context.

People of Nepali origin, who originally inhabited in southern part of Bhutan, were denied justice by the ruling regime, to the extent that they were expelled from their land while demanding equal rights.

During his travel to India soon after the initiation of political demonstration in southern Bhutan, the fourth king of the kingdom Jigme Singye Wangchuk had told the Indian media that southern Bhutanese in precise want separate identity. The psychology was, however, the result of secret sermons by then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who had visited Bhutan in 1986.

The fight for justice and equality continued. The refugees camped in Nepal failed to be motivated for other alternatives to their movement. The Bhutanese regime remained ignorant to the demand for justice.

The new document has revealed the fact. Desperate to resist the pressure of the refugees, the Bhutan government had offered India to cede some southern districts where the Indian government can resettle the refugees.

A paper by Prof. Mahendra P Lama of School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University entitled “The Politics, Human Rights and Implications of Protracted Refugee Situations," brought out by Oxford University, United Nations University, Tokyo and Centre for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and released in June 2007 contains the following statements:

…"Discussion by this researcher with various senior Indian officials has revealed very many interesting parleys between India and Bhutan. The offer by Bhutan to part with one of the districts in southern Bhutan and handing the same over to India for re-settlement of the refugees and other Nepali speaking Bhutanese citizens has often been mentioned. Given its serious international ramifications, this was apparently discarded by India as a desperate proposal from Bhutan…." [Page 29]

The level of frustration has not only increased among the refugee youths, who do not see their future, but also the monarchs in Bhutan who foresee that their power in the national politics would finally end in nowhere.

For the Bhutanese regime, delivery of justice to its citizens comes at the expense of ceding the land to get support for resistance against the growing frustration among the young generation. Incidentally, the newly revised treaty of these two countries has not mentioned anything about the land in duars (along the southern border of Bhutan) , for which the Indian government was paying compensation to Bhutan government. Around 18,000 square miles of land in duars was ceded to India in return for British India’s offer to pay annual compensation.

The area of land that Bhutan offered to cede to India has not been known but this has raised suspicion over the intention of the regime for protection of the sovereignty of the country. The planned campaign of the regime on Gross National Happiness has now been looked as the measure to plug-up the ire of citizens against the anti-national act of the rulers. It is also the time to question TIME magazine whether King Jigme Singye Wangchuk was a noble personality, who was featured as one of the 100 personalities for the year 2006.