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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 29, 2007
India-Nepal border sealed to stop Bhutanese refugees
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India-Nepal border sealed to stop Bhutanese refugees

tanki (West Bengal), May 29 (ANIAround 10,000 Bhutanese refugees gathered at the India-Nepal border in bid to return home using Indian soil, to participate in the mock election in Bhutan.

Panitanki (West Bengal), May 29 : Around 10,000 Bhutanese refugees gathered at the India-Nepal border in bid to return home using Indian soil, to participate in the mock election in Bhutan.

They sat in protest on a bridge that links the two countries, shouting slogans seeking passage.

The gate at the Indian end of the bridge was closed as Sashastra Seema Bal personnel sealed the border and stepped up security.

With the borders sealed, citizens of both sides have been left stranded.

"I wanted to go to Nepal. The policemen are not allowing us to go. They have put barricades, blocked the border," said Krishna Maya, a Nepali citizen.

The refugees, many of whom live in crowded camps in Nepal, want the right to return to their birthplace and take part in the democratic process, 17 years after being expelled for protesting against discrimination and in favour of democracy.

A handful of protestors belonging to the Samajwadi Party expressed sympathy with the Bhutanese refugees.

"Our aim is to support the movement for Bhutanese refugees to return to their country peacefully," said Surilam, a lawmaker.

Bhutan held a second "mock election" on Monday as a final dress rehearsal for the isolated Himalayan kingdom's transition to democracy next year after a century of royal rule.

The mock election, which began a month ago with four dummy parties running on imaginary manifestos, boiled down to a straight fight between the Druk (Thunder Dragon) Yellow Party and the Druk Red Party.

Former King Jigme Singye Wangchuk decided to hand over power to an elected government, against the will of many subjects, before passing his crown to his Oxford-educated son last December.

The mock poll is meant to teach voters and officials about the election process in a country slowly entering the modern world.

ANI

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