The image of political stability that the authorities sought
to provide to the outside world was to some extent disturbed
by the actions of groups demanding the introduction of
democracy. Among these groups is a Nepalese minority, which
has been relatively active in recent years.
tensions between the ethnic groups increased after the
census in 1988. The king then sought to increase the "Bhutanization"
of the country and forced the traditional use of the
traditional clothing - the cow for men, the kira for women -
and dzonga, as state language. He banned the teaching of
Nepali, banned tourists from accessing the holy places and
banned television broadcasts from India. It was also
prohibited to issue work permits to foreigners.
These measures helped to excite the Nepalese minority,
approx. 25% of the population immediately demonstrated their
displeasure, but their demands met on several occasions by
the King's incompatibility.
In September 1990, giant demonstrations were held and
clashes between the banned Bhutan People's Party
representing the Nepalese minority and government forces in
the streets of Thimbu. Opposition groups reported after the
fighting that 300 people had lost their lives.
The Bhutan People's Party was founded by a group of
students of Nepali origin, in order to put an end to the
sovereignty of the Drukpa, to replace the unrestricted
monarchy of a constitutional and few political parties.
From 1990, agitation intensified: Nepalese resistance
groups set fire to schools and cracked bridges; abductions
were carried out in order to raise funds, while the
government accused the groups of being responsible for
hundreds of killings. In return, the towns of southern
Bhutan were closed down, where the Nepalese minority was
predominantly concentrated. At the same time, the Unity
Front was founded for the Liberation of the People in
In 1991, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk decided to make
certain concessions. During a meeting in Tsogdu, he
threatened to abdicate if his policy towards the Nepalese
minority was not supported. At the end of the year, the
government issued amnesty to 800 members of the People's
Still, the gradual ethnic cleansing continued. By the
mid-1990s, 20% of the country's population - Lhotshampa -
had been forced into exile. Most settled in refugee camps in
eastern Nepal. Acc. UNHCR lived 107,000 in refugee camps in
Nepal in 2008. Nepal refused to grant them citizenship and a
large part of them were therefore stateless. From 2008, a
number of Western countries began to accept Lhotshamps as