Bhutanese refugee leader gunned down in Nepal camp

April 22nd, 2009 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, April 22 (IANS) A 52-year-old Bhutanese man living in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal was gunned down Tuesday, police said.
Shantiram Nepal, a 52-year-old, was killed by a group of people who attacked him at his hut in eastern Nepal’s Beldangi camp.

Five people have been arrested on the suspicion that they were behind the killing.

Nepal was said to have been a member of the underground Communist Party of Bhutan (Maoist) that says it will start an armed struggle in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to overthrow its hereditary monarchy.

The 52-year-old is said to have left the party recently.

More than 100,000 Bhutanese have been living in refugee camps in east Nepal since their eviction by the Druk government almost two decades ago.

After hopes of repatriation failed, many of the refugees have opted for settlement in western countries.

Led by the US, other governments like Canada, Norway and Australia have offered to provide a new home to the refugees.

The exodus however created tension between those who want a fresh start and those who want the world community to pressure Bhutan into taking its citizens back.

The Bhutan Maoists are opposing the resettlement in other countries.

Nepal’s ruling Maoist party said it would resume repatriation talks with the Bhutan government but so far, has made no progress.

Many Maoist leaders blame India, Bhutan’s largest donor and trade partner, for the impasse, saying India’s support has emboldened the Druk government into refusing to take the refugees back.

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