Distraught lives of refugees lacking marriage registrations and hindered verifications

By Bishnu Prasad Pokhrel, Damak, May 13: All the relatives and nearby friends of Nanda Lal Tamang, aged 54, who have been residing in a Bhutanese refugee camp, Beldangi, have reached the United States because of their status as Bhutanese refugees. However, the family of Tamang is worried as their future lies uncertain.

He said that it has been 31 years of them living in a Bhutanese refugee camp. His one arm does not move well from the attack by an elephant living in a nearby jungle of the refugee camp.

He complained that he could not be resettled because of being unable to manage the needed money for marriage registration.

According to him, there was no restriction on movement for Bhutanese refugees outside of the camp, so, he married a woman outside of the refugee camp.

He had repeatedly visited the Bhutanese Refugee Co-ordination Unit at Chandragadhi, Jhapa, for marriage registration, but his marriage has not been registered on various pretensions.

Tamang said, “They asked for money, but I could not give them. Officials as well as other outside people asked for money to make marriage registration certificates. Officials asked for at least Rs 16,000, while, and outside people’s rate was Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000, but, I did not have that much money.”

Tamang is not being resettled because of a lack of marriage registration and has thus been living in a Bhutanese refugee camp. He expressed his grief over the resettlement of non-refugee people to the US, but, a true refugee like him is denied the opportunity of resettlement.

The pain of Khagendra Bhandari, aged 62, is same. He said that the verification team had relocated as he was busy raising proofs for marriage registration and there has been no further verification yet.

He said, “I married a woman outside of a refugee status. The process of my marriage registration was stopped on various pretensions.”

He said that non- refugees could make fake documents and get benefited from them, but, even the real proofs did not work for us. “We have been living in the refugee camp for years, and the record shows so. Now, I feel that we have been stopped to send non-refugees to the States.”

There is a total of 6,365 Bhutanese refugees besides aged people, differently able people, and those who missed their verification due to various reasons.

All of their relatives have already been resettled to a third country. They are distraught because no effort has been made for them to go to their own country or to resettle in a third country.

-TRN Online

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