At least a few hundreds of exiled Bhutanese were present Saturday in Beldangi-II camp to mark the 104th National Day of Bhutan, recalling the installation of the monarchy in the country for the first time in December 17, 1907.
Interestingly, 108-year-old Indra Bahadur Subba, the eldest member from the Bhutanese community in exile, lighted six candles – each representing separate letters in ‘Bhutan’.
“I have come here to participate in a program that involves repatriation to my own kingdom,” Subba told Bhutan News Service after the completion of the event, where various persons including former members of the parliament expressed their views.
Sailendra Singh Arora of the Bhutan Solidary Group lauded the initiative to mark the National Day of Bhutan, forgetting the pain and suffering.
He also mentioned that the democratic struggle of the exiled Bhutan has been fading away as leaders lack a united stance for the cause, but said, “The government of Bhutan will accept you one day.”
Several those who presented their opinions said that celebration of the national events in Bhutan would at least mean that the camp residents are Bhutanese.
“Every person has well defined nationality. We are Bhutanese citizens, entitled to enjoy equal rights as the King does. This is why we are celebrating the National Day today,” said Dr Bhampa Rai, Chairperson of the Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee.
However, youth leader Chabi Kharel said celebrations of such a day would simply mean that the exiled community supports tyrannical monarchy in the country.
“It was the day when the first dictatorial king was institutionalized. Thus, observing the National Day means nothing for freedom fighters,” he said.
Former Caption of the Royal Bhutan Army N.B.Giri, former members of the parliaments Narad Moni Shanyashi, T.R. Regmi, Harka Jung Subba of the Senior Citizens’ Group, among others also presented their views.