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Asia-HR-Alert Appeals for the Relea

Subject: Asia-HR-Alert Appeals for the Release of Bhutanese Democratic Leader

driasosiandrigoing wrote:
> Dear Friends (Member of Asia-Alert),
> We writing you regarding the arrest of Mr Rongthong Kunley Dorji by
> Indian police in Gautamnagar, New Delhi, India on April 18, 1997. Mr
> Dorji is a prominent Bhutanese democracy leader and the Chairman of
> the exiled United Front for Democracy in Bhutan.
> The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Majesty's Government of Nepal
> has issued travel document to Mr Dorji. Further, according to the
> Indo-Bhutan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1949, the Bhutanese
> citizens do not require any visa or travel documents to visit India,
> quote: "The government of India agrees that Bhutanese subjects
> residing in Indian territories shall have equal justice with Indian
> subjects, and that Indian subjects residing in Bhutan shall have
> equal justice with the subjects of the Government of Bhutan"
> unquote.
> GRINSO  is seriously concerned for the personal safety and security
> of Mr Dorji. Further, GRINSO is extremely concerned for the possible
> deportation of Mr Dorji to Bhutan. The Bhutanese government has
> issued arrest warrant against Mr Dorji under the charge of
> "anti-national activities". If Mr Dorji is deported to Bhutan, his
> life is under risk and he may receive death sentence. Please ask the
> Indian government for his immediate and unconditional release. Hope
> you will take appropriate measure to save the life of Mr Dorji.
> Following is a background information for your reference:
> Bhutanese exile groups have strongly condemned Indian autorities for
> arresting a prominent Bhutanese pro-democracy leader who, they fear,
> could be deported back to Bhutan. At a press conference held on
> April 19, leaders of the exiled United Front for Democracy in Bhutan
> (UFD), termed the Indian action "illegal" and called on India to
> immediately release Rongthong Kuenley Dorji, the UFD's chairman.
> According to the UFD, Dorji was arrested on April 18 by Indian
> security personnel at the posh Defense Colony suburb of New Delhi
> where he was staying with his aides. "He still remains in detention,
> supposedly charged under the Foreigners' Registration Act of India",
> UFD spokesman Narayan Katel said at the press conference. One of
> Dorji's aides who was also arrested has been released, he added.
> S.K. Pradhan, an UFD central committee member, told newsmen that it
> was surprising that India had resorted to this tactic to arrest
> Dorji, a Bhutanee citizen. "Bhutanese nationals in India do not have
> to register. They are allowed to move freely and are not required to
> possess passports", he said quoting a provision in the Indo-Bhutan
> Treaty of 1949. "Because of this, we consider Dorji's arrest
> illegal". Both Katel and Pradhanfeared that Dorji could be deported
> by India to Bhutan where an arrest warrant has been issued against
> him on charges of waging "anti-national activities".
> The last leader to be deported back to Bhutan was human rights
> activist Mr Tek Nath Rijal, who was handed over to Bhutanese
> authorities by Nepal, during the autocratic regime lead by absolute
> monarch in 1989. Mr Rijal is still  under imprison.
> Dorji, a prominent businessman from Bhutna's Sarchhop ethnic
> community, jumped into pro-democracy political activities after he
> was persecuted by the Bhutanese Royal regime which represents the
> Ngalong community. As a leader of the Druk National Congress (DNC) ,
> Dorji spearheaded his political campaign. Last year in June, he was
> unanimously elected as the chairman of the UFD, an alliance of
> scores of Bhutanese rights organisations in exile and three main
> political parties -- the DNC, Bhutan Peoples Party and Bhutan
> National Democratic Party.
> Analysts say, the more effectively blew the cover off the Bhutanese
> royal regime's argument which maintained that the pro-democracy
> movement was led by Southern Lhotsampas and as such does not have
> the support of Bhutan's indigenous ethnic communities. At the press
> conference, UFD leaders made it clear that their organisation is not
> anti-Indian. "We are only condemning the illegal arrest of our
> chairman", Katel said.
> Finally, please write a protest letter to the following persons
> demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Dorji:
> 1.      President Shankar Dayal Sharma
> Office of the President
> Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 11 000 1
> India
> Fax: + 91 11 301 7290
> 2.      Prime Minister I. K. Gujral
> Office of the Prime Minister
> Gate No. 6, South Block
> New Delhi 110 001, India
> Fax: + 91 11 301 9817
> 3.      Minister of Home Affairs
> Ministry of Home Affairs
> North Block, New Delhi 110001
> India
> Fax: +91 11 301 5750
> 4.      Minister of External Affairs
> Ministry of External Affairs
> South Block, New Delhi 10001
> India.
> Many thanks for your kind cooperation and extending solidarity.
> Sincerely,
> Shiva Hari Dahal
> GRINSO-Nepal