Bhutanese authorities have for the first time discussed the “gang issue” to the students of Tenzin Higher Secondary school to declare gang culture an “Illegal act” in Bhutan.
The Paro Police, which organized the interaction program was countered by the only innocent question of one of the students when he asked how the government shall deal with the problem of unemployment that has crippled the country.
Paro SP Tshering Dorji replied that, while the government is in the process of working on long term strategies, the police will try to provide as much immediate support in the meantime. He explained that a high level committee had been formed and is working on providing long term solutions.
At present, the Paro police is creating awareness program among the youth on gang culture. The SP, along with other senior personnel have been visiting different schools to educate the youths on the negative aspects of gang culture.
It was the turn for students of Tenzin higher secondary school in Kyichu yesterday. They were informed of the criminal offenses liable to be committed when in a gang, and of the possible penalties they would be subject to if found guilty of such offenses.
But Paro SP Tshering Dorji also pointed out to the students that the penalty for simply being part of a gang had “yet to be worked out.” He said that students found to be gang members that have not committed other crimes may have to perform community service.
Students were further distributed a circular from the Home Ministry declaring gangs to be an illegal. They were also reminded of the ban on mobile phones on school premises. They were then read an appeal penned by police chief, Kipchu Namgyel, requesting “our youth of Bhutan to disband their gangs and request to act, behave, and live a responsible life.”
Before the conclusion of the program, SP Tshering Dorji told the students that should they wish to detach from the gangs but fearing retribution, they should contact the police, teachers or parents. The SP even provided his own cell phone number in case they need it.
Students, who were present at the program were found having ” divided perspectives” when they were contacted by the Kuensel.
“It’ll depend on what kind of members and rules and regulations the gang has,” said one student, on the possibility of simply leaving the gang. Another student said, “If they heard what was said today, they’ll stop, or try to stop.”
Whatever their perspectives on the gang culture being declared illegal, the participants were unanimous on the fact that there are no gangs in Tenzin higher secondary school.