April 21, 2010: The extradition proceedings against R.K. Dorji, the President of the Druk National Congress, finally ended today, with the withdrawal of the case by the Government of India.
According to a press statement, the counsel of the Union of India submitted in the Delhi High Court that the Royal Government of Bhutan preferred not to pursue the extradition of Rongthong Kunley and withdrew its extradition request.
Dorji was arrested on April 18, 1997, by the Government of India at the behest of Royal Government of Bhutan to have him extradited to Bhutan, when he arrived in Delhi to garner support from the Government and the people of India for the Bhutanese peoples’ struggle for the establishment of democracy and human rights in Bhutan. He was imprisoned for 14 months at Tihar jail and released on bail on July 12, 1998. However, his bail condition prevented him from leaving Delhi without permission, and he had to report to the local police station twice a week.
Back in Bhutan, on May 18, 1991, Dorji had been arrested and tortured for fifty days on charges of treason for being involved in the pro-democracy movement. After his release, he fled to Nepal for the fear of re-arrest, torture and elimination. In August 1991, the Government of Nepal granted him political asylum. On June 16, 1994, at Kathmandu, Nepal, he formed the Druk National Congress, a political party, to demand the establishment of democracy human rights in Bhutan under Constitutional Monarchy.
His extradition case in India, which began on July 1, 1997, at the Patiala House Court and shifted later to Tis Hazari Court, had been proceeding at a snail’s pace, with the Union of India unable, apart from its first witness, to produce any of its other designated witnesses even after 11 years. To thus expedite his case, Dorji had submitted a petition in the Delhi High Court on October 22, 2008, requesting the Hon’ble Court to quash the extradition proceedings. On April 9, 2009, the counsel of the Union of India submitted to the Tis Hazari Court that they were no longer able to produce its second witness. After the 13th adjournment/hearing on R.K. Dorji’s petition at the Delhi High Court, the extradition proceedings finally came to an end today with the Delhi High Court’s order.
After the Delhi High Court’s judgment, Dorji expressed his satisfaction at the outcome. He said this judgment was a victory not only for himself but also for the people of the Bhutan and India, and democrats the world over.
The statement further quoted Dorji as saying that this conclusively proved the politically motivated allegations against him were false, and that his faith in the Indian Judiciary was finally vindicated.