Monday, August 27, 2007

Bhutanese refugees flee camps in droves


DAMAK, Aug 27 - Owing to lack of security due to frequent riots inside the refugee camps here in Beldangi of Jhapa, incidents of Bhutanese refugees leaving the camps have increased recently.

The refugees started fleeing since May when riots initially began inside the camps. Further, the exodus has intensified significantly since the past two weeks after three of the camp secretaries in Beldangi refugee camps were beaten up by refugee youths who are against accepting the option of third country resettlement.

Among the escapees are Beldangi camp sector III secretary Manorath Khanal, his family and neighbor Homnath Baral's family, the then acting camp secretary of sector II Pingala Dhital and his family. The three families were displaced after an angry mob demolished their huts inside the camp and beat up Khanal.

Although there is no specific data available about the those who have left camp, local refugees said that almost 100 petrified refugees from all the three camps in Beldangi of Jhapa have fled the camps so far. The refugees staying back in the camps are terrified as well.

According to a refugee Tek Bahadur Mainali, many of the refugees are taking shelter in other camps or nearby villages outside the camps.

Refugees have been living under insecurity following strong differences between those supporting third-country resettlement and others opposing it. Furthermore, rebellious parties, including Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) and Bhutan Tigers' Front have intensified their activities inside the camps in the recent past, adding to the fear among the refugees.

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