DPT Trashigang Coordinator and DNT member arrested for instructions and threat of violence

The Royal Bhutan Police on 31 July, Tuesday night arrested DPT’s Trashigang coordinator ‘Gyembo’ Dorji from Thimphu for giving specific instructions to conduct violence on a DPT WeChat group of Bartsham-Shongphu constituency in Trashigang.

The audio recording instruction to the group given in Tshangla is chilling. It says, “I am sending you the picture of Samten Wangdi who had entered into the Bartsham-Shongphu group (WeChat). He is from Khamdang Ramjar and he lives in Phuentsholing. He is a coordinator of DNT. ‘Blackman’ added him to the group, however I removed him from the group. I know him well, he drives a Hilux in Phuentsholing and he has a cement agency. He is a troublemaker.

If people like him come to the village then just get hold of them and beat them up. If they have vehicles, then burn their vehicles too. Whatever the consequences, I will handle it.”

Gyembo Dorji’s real name is is Lhendup Dorji and in 2013 he was the then Trashigang Coordinator for DPT as per the available records. He hails from the Bartsham-Shongphu constituency and is a petty contractor.

Samten Wangdi, while replying to Gyembo Dorji, refers to him as the National Coordinator of DPT for 20 dzongkhags.

DPT’s Vice President and Spokesperson, Dorji Wangdi, claimed that Gyembo Dorji is only the Trashigang Coordinator.

However, DNT General Secretary, Tenzin Lekphell, said that his understanding is that Gyembo Dorji is DPT’s National Coordinator.

The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), as per its mandate, is treating the case as a criminal intimidation case and has not gone into the political affiliations around the case.

According to a RBP official, Samten Wangdi came to the Phuentsholing police station on 24 July with a compliant and voice recording of Gyembo Dorji. The Phuentsholing police then contacted Gyembo Dorji and asked him to report to the police station to discuss the issue.

The police said that Gyembo Dorji refused to show up, and so later the RBP issued an arrest warrant against Gyembo Dorji, and arrested him from a hotel in Thimphu on Tuesday night.

He was kept overnight under police custody in Thimphu.

RBP escorted him down to Phuentsholing on Wednesday morning to be handed over to the Phuentsholing police on Wednesday afternoon. Gyembo was produced before the court on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Gyembo Dorji also produced a voice recording to the Phuentsholing police where Samten Wangdi while replying to Gyembo Dorji threatened Gyembo with his life.

As a result, the police also arrested Samten Wangdi on Thursday evening.

The investigation is still ongoing, but so far, RBP has found that the criminal charges of harassment and defamation would apply against both the individuals. Criminal harassment is a petty misdemeanor. Additional charges may be levied as the investigation proceeds.

DPT Vice President, Dorji Wangdi, said that the party was not aware of the issue until it came into light in the social media. He said, “There is nothing related with the party, and it is solely an individual conflict.”

“We cannot go after every person and see what they are doing. The fight is between them and not between the two parties. Nothing is related to the party, however, since they are related to either of the parties, people think that party is involved,” he added.

According to DNT, Samten Wangdi is not a coordinator but he is a supporter of the DNT.

Tenzin Lekphell also said that DNT was not aware of the case. He also said that Gyembo Dorji must have had some argument with a member of the public who is for DNT. “We just heard that two of them had an issue, whereby Gyembo Dorji has threatened Samten, which is why Samten lodged a complaint against him to the police. We are not even close to Samten Wangdi,” the DNT General Secretary added.

The ECB said that the RBP is handling the issue, and ECB can take action only if a separate complaint is filed with the ECB.

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