On Tuesday the Indian police indiscriminately fired at Bhutani refugees trying to return to their homeland. The cold-blooded shooting left one dead and dozens injured, and only went to show India's oppressive and hypocritical nature.
India has neither the legal nor the moral right to stop the refugees from returning to Bhutan. India itself created the situation where they were forced to choose its soil as a pathway to Bhutan. Nepali-speaking Bhutanis were the victims of the violent ethnic cleansing mounted by the Bhutan government in the early 1990s. Many strayed into India seeking refuge, but the Indian government shepherded them into Nepal. Those same refugees now want to return to their homeland but India bars the way. It magnanimously allowed them to leave Bhutan, but now refuses them passage back.
India calls itself as the world's largest democracy but there is nothing democratic about blindly accepting the actions of the racist Bhutani government. King Jigme's ethnic cleansing could never have worked without support from India. And it was also because of India's support that Jigme could ignore international pressure. Seventeen years have passed since the refugees first came to Nepal, their children have already grown into young men. Inside the refugee camps, the humiliation of having to live off charity and fear of an uncertain future lead to sadness, depression, and anger.
Various nations including the United States have offered to absorb the refugees, but this has only stoked the fire. Perhaps third country resettlement will mean a better life for the refugees but to do so is a slap in the face of human rights and would be like giving the Bhutani government permission to chase out the remaining Nepali-speakers from Bhutan. It is the right of any refugee to be resettled in a third country if they want to. But it is undeniable that this option is a conspiracy to keep the racist Bhutani government in power.
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