Nepal | Happy Trails

Bhutan’s ethnic Nepalese refugees settle on resettlement

01 February 2011
Nandalal Dangal (second from left) and his family sit outside their home in a Nepalese refugee camp.
BRENDAN BRADY FOR THE CARAVAN
Nandalal Dangal (second from left) and his family sit outside their home in a Nepalese refugee camp.
BRENDAN BRADY FOR THE CARAVAN

WHILE CHANTING AN INCANTATION, a Hindu priest mixes a paste of rice and dye into the dirt in an attempt to summon luck and prosperity for this audience. Both have been in short supply for the Dangal family, the eager recipients of his well-wishes.

Nandalal Dangal, 43, is at first squatting in the narrow, muddy alley in front of the wooden hut he shares with his family but stands up from the ceremony to talk about his tormented past. He was a 25-year-old student, he says, when Bhutan’s state security forces pushed him, along with tens of thousands of other ethnic Nepalese, out of the Himalayan country.

“Soldiers would come to our house and tell us, ‘Leave Bhutan: this is the policy of the government,’” he says. Army and police personnel allegedly backed this message with threats—and acts—of violence against Nepalese communities in Bhutan’s south.

Don't want to read further? Stay in touch

  • Free newsletters. updates. and special reads
  • Be the first to hear about subscription sales
  • Register for Free

    Brendan Brady reports on diplomacy, human rights, religion and culture in Asia.

    Keywords: Nepal refugees Bhutan Tibet UNHCR Brendan Brady Timai UN Hinduism Buddhism
    COMMENT