This letter, signed by the following signatories, was sent to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on June 14, as he prepares to visit Bhutan from June 15. BNS has published this letter retaining its original content. An unofficial Hindi translation of this letter by BNS is available here.
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Please accept the heartiest felicitations and congratulations on your assumption of the prestigious Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of India. The landslide victory that you have achieved truly reflects your dynamic leadership and commitment of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) towards the Indian nationals.
Mr. PM, we are also honored to know that Bhutan is the first country of your state visit. As we become confident that such a visit will take the Indo-Bhutan friendship to a new height, we also take this opportunity to draw your attention towards the plight of the Bhutanese refugees.
Mr. PM, you are visiting a country that has expelled over 100,000 of innocent citizens simply for raising their voices for democracy, human rights and equality in the kingdom. Unfortunately, these citizens have been rendered stateless for over 22 years as Bhutan is never in favor of accepting them back home. Nepal, which still continues to host thousands of these refugees letting others to resettle in the western countries, has failed to negotiate with Bhutan in finding an amicable solution of the crisis. Refugees, their leaders and the international community strongly believe that the right to return home of these refugees is completely vested on the Indian mercy. It is a matter of extreme sadness that none of the former governments of India paid attention towards this standoff.
Mr. PM, in your own words, your government is fully dedicated to poor, youth and women. The exiled Bhutanese populace not only comprises of poor, youth and women, but also hundreds of victims of torture, rape and other forms of state-sponsored suppression. We implore you to question the King, Jigme Khesar, and your Bhutanese counterpart, Tshering Tobgay, about fate of these citizens, pathetic situations of their relatives inside the country and political prisoners.
Mr. PM, reminding you of all aforementioned issues, we wholeheartedly appeal you to kindly make it your priority to generously engage India’s influential leadership in allowing all Bhutanese to fully exercise democracy and human rights, as Indian and global citizens do, thereby pressing the Government of Bhutan to accept dignified return of all willing citizens from exile.
Lastly, we wish you and your government the very best in your official tenure as a leader of the world’s largest democracy in the years ahead.
Govinda Rizal, PhD.
Lodrai Gaylegphug, Bhutan
Currently in Kyoto, Japan
Melbourne Victoria Australia
Currently in Arora, Colorado, USA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Currently in Sydney, NSW, Autralia
Currently in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Albquerque, New Mexico, USA
South Australia (Adelaide), Australia
Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan
Currently in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Currently in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Northland, Wellington, New Zealand
Former Assembly Member,
Currently in Arizona, USA
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Thugten Dorjee Drukpa,
T B Gurung
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Harrisburg Pennsylvania, USA
Ram BK Chhetri
The Hague, The Netherlands
Kuber Poudel Chhetri
Currently in Las Vegas, NV
Current in Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA