Damak-The Bhutani government has denied school enrolment to thousands of Nepali-speaking Bhutani children. Only a few months back, many children in south Bhutan were not allowed to enroll in new classes without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) which is available only through the Police Headquarters in Thimphu. Bhutani citizens are deprived of all privileges and rights without a NOC. Thousands of children in southern Bhutan's Samchi, Sarbhang, Dagna, Samdup, Jokher, Chirang and Chhuka districts were asked to quit school when they failed to show their NOC papers. "Now these children are forced to work as shepherds after the government action," said Bhutani leader SB Subba, who recently returned from a visit to Indo-Bhutani border.
Getting an NOC is a long process. First they need approval from the local village council, then process through the Dungpa (sub-divisional officer) and Dzongda (district head officer) and eventually get the certificate from the police chief. Despite having an overall population of 300,000, only 6,000 children in south Bhutan are enrolled in school. By contrast, in Nepal 41,000 children from the total 100,000 Bhutani refugees have been admitted into schools. "The Bhutani government is trying to deprive southern Bhutanis of every privilege by making NOC mandatory," says Subba. Since the Bhutani army built their barracks in the village schools, students have not been able to go to class for the last 12 years. The government has established army and police camps in all the 21 government schools of six districts. These schools built with help of local people are now being used to torture the villagers.
Getting a citizenship certificate is much more difficult. The King's brother-in-law, Tshering Wangda, is in charge of citizenship unit at the Home Ministry and he has given strict orders not to give citizenship to any Nepali-speaking Bhutanis. "The government has been doing everything to displace us from Bhutan," said Subba who adds that denying citizenship has been one way to get rid of the Nepali speaking Bhutani population.