Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Yes—people’s war in Bhutan

There has been some interest, by left-wing revolutionaries, in the new Maoist Movement in Bhutan. Some have wondered if the Communist Party of Bhutan (MLM) is active or planning a people’s war as in Nepal and India. The answer is yes. Here is an article from India Buzzing;
-សតិវ អតុ

There is always two sides of believe- up and down. This goes with the democracy as will which has it s own downside. That’s what monarchial Bhutan is finding out along the porous 605 km border it shares with India. So are the Indian states bordering the Himalayan country, especially militancy scarred Assam?

From Arunachal Pradesh to the east and Sikkim to the west, Bhutan with snow carpeted adjoining with theses two states has its southern border runs some 400 km along Assam and West Bengal through dense, sub-Himalayan forests and seemingly inaccessible hillocks. No wonder, Northeastern militant outfits such as, ULFA, NDFB and KLO operated over 30 camps deep inside the jungles of southern Bhutan until they were ejected in December 2003.
It has been four years now since the 14 Sashastra Seema Bal battalions were deployed there and it forces the militants to go back into southern Bhutan. Thimphu (capital of Bhutan), moving from monarchy to democracy; denies this but admits Nepal-based Maoists could be filling up the void left behind by Northeast ultras. The arrest of eight Maoists from two clandestine camps in southern Bhutan bordering Baksa and Udalguri districts of Assam earlier this month, made this apparent.

When Thimpu cracked down on the people identified as “illegal settlers”, more than a million Nepalese people found refuge in the northern West Bangal and Nepal. Some of the “refugees” formed the Communist Party of Bhutan (Marxist-Leninist) while the advent of democracy encouraged others to form the Bhutan Maoist Party. 
The red corridor from Nepal to Bhutan through Assam is a matter of concern for the Bhutan officials at the strategic headquarters of Samdrup Jongkhar district right on the border kissing Darranga Mela town in Assam. It is possible that there is an increase in the Maoist influence among Adivasis living with other tribes and suspected Bangladeshis on a l0 km wide forested strip on this side of the border. Likewise, Indian officials are troubled by those who smuggle petrol and kerosene that cost Rs 8 to 15 less in Bhutan; and cannabis cultivated in southeastern Bhutan.
Indian officials are worried about the unregulated flow of labourers many of suspected nationality-into Bhutan. “The Bhutanese need to travel through Assam to move from one part of their country to another. Since the 2003 anti-ULFA operation, security concerns have made it mandatory for Bhutanese nationals to move in convoys of 80 to 150 vehicles. We are not supposed to check these vehicles, some of which ferry Bangladeshi labourers to Bhutan,” said a police officer in an outpost near the Indo- Bhutan border. “We had, in fact, suggested fencing the Indo-Bhutan border for better vigil and checking of movement of militants and criminals.
The proposal was struck down in view of the special relationship between New Delhi and Thimphu. The SSB battalions are also hamstrung by infrastructure problems, with land for permanent bases and border outposts hard to come by. Besides, most of them have no officers at the helm. But that is a different story.

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