Sunday, November 18, 2007

Refugee camp security beefed up


Citing increasing insecurity inside the Beldangi Bhutanese refugee camp during nighttime, the local administration in Damak has prohibited mobility to and from the camp after 7 p.m. every day, starting Saturday.

Earlier this month, a joint meeting held between the camp management committee, the refugee coordination committee unit and the police administration had decided to tighten up camp security.

"The prohibitory orders have been imposed after taking account of the present situation," Raj Kumar Lamichhane, District Superintendent of Police of Armed Police Force Beldangi base camp, told the Post. "We will take action against any refugees trying to exit the camp or remaining outside it after 7 in the evening," Lamichhane added.

However, the administration has not clarified the total time stretch of the prohibitory order. "The prohibitory order is effective until the break of dawn," security personnel at the base camp said. Security in the camp was beefed up after increasing incidents recently of political pamphlets being stuck up and hooliganism.

Meanwhile, refugees at Beldangi-1 found a stray pamphlet inside the camp Friday night claiming that the Nepal Government and UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) were providing security to "unimportant persons." The pamphlet also accuses Chabilal Thapa, former secretary of Beldangi-1 refugee camp, of committing "severe crimes" in Bhutan and inside the camp, and claims that "the Bhutanese people would not forgive Thapa no matter what."

Right since some countries, chief among them the United States, announced they were to resettle the refugees, extremist youths have been threatening refugees not to opt for third country resettlement. The government, after facing a lot of flak, has set up bases for the Armed Police Force in each of the camps.

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