Home Ministry to help Sonam Tshering and family with Citizenship Identity Card

imagesFollowing a story in The Bhutanese  this week, Sonam Tshering, and his three sons who were stateless for more than two decades will soon get their Citizenship Identity Cards (CID).

At the moment the Home Minister, Lyonpo Minjur Dorji said that the ministry is looking into the matter.

“If they are genuine Bhutanese then we are very supportive in this case. We are there to help them to get the Bhutanese Citizenship,” said the minister.

Immediately after this paper reported the matter the minister talked with his officials on how Sonam Tshering and his family remained without citizenship.

The home minister said that anyone who had problem with their citizenship comes to him or else to the concerned office.

He said Sonam Tshering had never approached him on this matter though he was there with the ministry for more than four years. The Ministry is presently verifying the matter and they are very supportive about getting citizenship for Sonam Tshering and his sons.

While the Home Ministry does all the bureaucartic work of verification ultimately only His Majesty the King can grant citizenship.

Sonam Tshering, who had his census with his wife’s family, did possess a citizenship identity card (CID) in the early 1980s when he shifted to Paro, and settled with his late wife.

He paid me-threy (tax) regularly through his cousin Tenzin Yeshi for the purpose.

One random day he found out from his cousins that he and his family didn’t have census. So, he went to see what actually happened. He found that their census was out casted.

He immediately put up an application from the gewog office and forwarded it to the dzongkhag office.

Unfortunately, that year his wife and daughter died in a bus accident (where 18 passengers died) but his son Nima, 7 survived the accident. With that trauma he could not proceed to make the census for them. He was trying to make census for his family before the 1990s problem.

After the trauma Sonam Tshering resumed his efforts to make CIDs for his family. He went to plead for a proper census to the Zimpon’s office. The office gave him a letter and was sent to Kidu Office to get the work done.

From there he was asked to go to the home ministry (MoHCA). He said there was a clerk with a bald head to whom he handed over the letter. The officer told him they would call him as soon as work’s done.

After he waited for almost a year Sonam Tshering decided to go meet the clerk in the ministry.

To his surprise the clerk was replaced by a new clerk, Rinzin and his assistant Karma. They didn’t know about the old clerk’s whereabouts.

Sonam Tshering submitted all the essential documents to the old clerk which included around 25 letters from kidu office.

A shattered Sonam Tshering recalling his miseries said “The letter had a sign from gewog gup, Haa Dzongda and some important kidu officials”.

“Without an Identity card I was prohibited to enter dzong even if it was for an official work. I used to be a chimi (local government representative) of our village,” he added.

Clerk Rinzin helped him make a blue Identity card which helped him for a time being. After a long wait, finally he and his son were called for an interview where they were made to sing dzongkha songs to check the fluency of national language, and had to go through other modes of test.

Even after three years of waiting he didn’t receive any calls or mails from the office claiming that the concerned officers are on tours or busy with official works.

When he finally went to the Zimpon office he found out that his letters and the interview he and his family went through three years back, got invalidated and was cancelled.

While in the process to propose again for census, he was called by Bji Gup to give them the census where he and his family’s name was recorded and said that after four months they will get the census. But they didn’t.

Sonam Tshering said his family can’t do anything to achieve their dreams without proper citizenship.

His children cannot apply for jobs and are therefore compelled to do farming or remain dependent on their wives and their families.

Sonam Tshering lives with his second wife in Jagathang Nagikha village under Lango gewog, Paro.

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  1. When will we see the headlines as “Home Ministry to help stateless people in the south with Citizenship Identity Card”?

  2. Home Ministry brought some from Shillongs and resettled, now they are helping sonam Tshering, They may called some boros from Assam, but they will not solve internal stateless issue…

  3. Very true Rinchen, there are no intention and urge at all from MOHCA to find a solution to this long standing issue of stateless people in the south. There are people who are either categorized in form 5 (Stateless), and there are others who have no census at all (again stateless). Why?

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