Assistant Chief District Officer of Jhapa, Yogendra Dulal, claimed that asylum seekers arrested by Nepal Police are not “Bhutanese refugees”.
“A high-level verification team formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued refugee identity cards to all pending cases,” Dulal told mediapersons at Damak on Thursday.
“These people are not refugees from Bhutan. We’ll exercise measures to remove them from the refugee camps funded by aid agencies,” he stated.
Dulal also reiterated the stance of local government that those arrested would be punished as he blamed them of ‘disturbing camp management committee elections’ in the camps.
Damak police have already filed a public offence case against 18 Bhutanese nationals arrested on Monday from Beldangi-II. There are remanded in a weeklong judicial custody at Damak Police Station after appearing at the Jhapa district court yesterday.
Meanwhile, health conditions of all detainees are reportedly deteriorating as they have been fasting-unto-death since Monday afternoon. Three women have been hospitalized at the Lifeline Hospital.
However, local media reports from Damak quoted police officials as refuting reports of hunger strikes inside the prison cells.