Chapter

‘Now We will all be Criminals’

Michael Hutt

in Unbecoming Citizens

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195670608
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081806 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195670608.003.0012
‘Now We will all be Criminals’

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This chapter deals with the dissonant representations of the Lhotshampas' resistance to the new policies, and particularly the large unprecedented public political demonstrations that took place in 1990s. These were influenced by the demand for a Gorkhaland by the Gorkhaland National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhas Ghiseng in India. The suppression of their campaigns by Indian security forces involved considerable violence, and the death of many. This raised fears of similar violence in the minds of the Bhutanese elite who felt all political activity amongst the Lhotshampas must be discouraged. Bhutan also learnt lessons from the experience of Sikkim, now a predominantly Nepali state within India. Nepali dissidence (1989) was led by Tek Nath Rizal and was violent in nature. While the violent aspect of the Lhotshampas' resistance is played down in all refugee accounts, the Bhutanese state saw it as a rebellion against the Royal government. The Lhotshampas were deemed anti-national (ngolops)and criminals, making national reconciliation difficult.

Keywords: political demonstrations; Lhotshampas; Gorkhaland National Liberation Front; Indian security forces; Sikkim; Subhas Ghiseng; Tek Nath Rizal; ngolops

Chapter.  7088 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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