NATIONAL

Clash coincides with mock poll in Bhutan

SIMMERING ANGER: Security forces fire teargas shells at Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin to prevent them from crossing the border into India through the Mechi River Bridge, some 40 km from Siliguri, on Tuesday.

SIMMERING ANGER: Security forces fire teargas shells at Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin to prevent them from crossing the border into India through the Mechi River Bridge, some 40 km from Siliguri, on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: AFP

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: The first day of the clash between Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin and the security forces and local police along the Indo-Nepal border in Panitanki area of West Bengal's Darjeeling district coincided with the holding of a mock election in Bhutan on Monday as part of preparations for the national polls to be held for the first time in that country next year. The demand of those involved in the violence is that they supporters of the movement for democracy in Bhutan be allowed to return to that country.

Monday's mock election featured two political parties as against four, which were in the fray in the primary mock elections held in Bhutan on April 21, an official of the Bhutanese Embassy in Delhi said. The turnout in the second round was more, he added.

There had been attempts by Bhutanese refugees in Nepal camps to return to Bhutan, causing law and order problem in north Bengal, a corridor that links eastern Nepal with Bhutan.

More than 100,000 refugees are stated to be sheltered in these camps.

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