Kathmandu, Aug 14: Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has said that one of the 38 known Bhutanese Political prisoners Mr Madhukar Monger, was released on 9 August 2023, after serving 30 years as a political prisoner in Chemgang Central Prison in Bhutan.
Mr Monger safely reached his brother’s home in the Bhutanese refugee camp Beldangi, Damak, Nepal, on 11 August 2023 after he was deported to India by the escorting Royal Bhutan Police on 9 August 2023. His wife, children and parents are all resettled in the USA, and fortunately, he found his younger brother and his family in the camp; thus, currently, he is taking shelter at his brother’s hut in Beldangi camp. To this end, GCRPPB requests Refugee Coordination Unit (RCU) to re register him in the camp and request UNHCR and USA government to further process his timely reunion with his wife, children and elderly parents in the USA. GCRPPB also asked the concerned camp management authority to arrange Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy for Mr Madhukar Monger immediately.
GCRPPB has said in a statement, “We are very happy to have one of its beloved brothers alive back after 30 years of rigorous imprisonment and torture. Still, the cruel act of the Bhutan Government in deporting him instantly to India despite his repeated appeal to allow him to stay in Bhutan for at least a few days to meet his friends and relatives is a gross violation of his fundamental rights for which we would like to condemn in the most substantial possible term and request International Community to question Bhutan for this inhuman treatment.”
Another point that needs our condemnation is that despite serving for 30 years as a political prisoner and getting released, Mr Madhukar Monger was forcefully asked to pay 21000 Ngultrums (Bhutanese Currency that is equivalent to Indian Rupees) as a fine and was forced to bear the cost of transportation till the Indo-Bhutan border in Phuentsholing Bhutan. As per prison law, Bhutan must pay the cost of transporting the released prisoner to his destination before handing formally over to his family members. But in Mr Monger’s case, he was just dumped into India without bothering about his further welfare, the statement said.
As per Mr Monger, the situation of the political prisoners back in Chemgang Central Prison is very deplorable. Political prisoners, namely Damber Singh Pulami, Ganga Ram Dhakal, Mani Kumar Pradhan, Omnath Adhikari and San Man Gurung, are suffering from various chronic illness that was caused due to the rigorous torture during their early prison years. Though the prison rules mention free medicines to the inmates, they are often asked to buy themselves including the doctor-prescribed medication.
The already scarcity-ridden ration was recently further decreased. As a result, the political prisoners are forced to survive with half a stomach of food. “I survived for 30 years of rigorous imprisonment with luck, but I feel apprehensive now about how my friends can survive there with less food and other facilities”, said Madhukar Monger. “The only reason that makes me and other friends live in prison is the hope of getting released soon, but that soon never comes, and in my case, 30 years became that soon, ” said Mr Monger.
Mr Madhukar Mongar was arrested on 11 February 1994 and sentenced to 30 years for his involvement in political activities. Since then, he has been serving his sentence at Chemgang Central Prison.
The campaign wants to thank Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, European Union, Nepalese Media and everyone for supporting our campaign to help release Bhutanese Political Prisoners and fully hope such support continues till every Bhutanese political prisoner is safely released from the Bhutanese prisons.
GCRPPB reiterates its appeal to His Majesty, The King of Bhutan, to grant amnesty to all the Bhutanese Political Prisoners without further delay. Until all of them are safely released, GCRPPB requests that the Bhutan government provide them with enough rations, and proper and free medical treatment, including free-of-cost medicine, the statement said.