Are Bhutanese lives cheap?

The BEO or Japan case has mainly been discussed in terms of contractual obligations and their violations, and the financial implications.

However, the human toll brought out by students and parents in this paper, last week, gave pause for thought.

Two dead, one in coma, 30 plus with Tuberculosis, two paralysis cases, two mental breakdowns and many other cases of trauma show that the ‘earn and learn’ program is not just a legal or financial matter but also a humanitarian case.

The above figures are not new and must have been known to the authorities’ in one form or the other.

However, despite that, the government still sounded defensive of the labour officials and till date has not taken any action against anyone, though the ACC recommended specific actions against labour officials and the company concerned.

The treatment of this whole case should remove any notion that Bhutanese lives or well being are a matter of special concern for government officials in Bhutan.

On the contrary, this entire case shows that Bhutanese lives and well being are quite cheap and the influential few who have to be shielded, for whatever reasons, will be shielded.

From day one, the government in its actions and tone put the onus on the students and parents.

Doubts were openly raised by ministers on the capacity of Bhutanese youth to work or adapt.

Well, our youths have worked themselves to death or something near to it, but their sincerity still stands questioned.

Instead, the victims, in this case the students and parents, have been turned into a spectacle and made to run around in circles.

The students and parents in this BEO case have only asked for justice, but the government and its institutions have failed them.

The ACC investigation team did not even reach Japan, but its limited investigation restricted to Bhutan still found a lot.

All the while, not only the government, but even our society has not hesitated to blame our youths only.

It is time for all of us to reflect and ponder.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.     
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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