Minor blasts ahead of Bhutan royal wedding

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 00:39

Thimphu: Two low-intensity bombs exploded on Monday in a border town of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, injuring two people, just days before the country celebrates the wedding of its king, an official said.

The twin blasts in the town of Phuentsholing, on the border with India, occurred in the early evening. One was near a cash machine and the other just the other side of the border gate, a government spokeswoman said, the AFP reported.

"There were small blasts from two home-made bombs. There are two Indians with minor injuries," she said, asking not to be named, adding that investigations were ongoing and police were unable to suggest a motive.

In 2008, Bhutan was targeted in a string of minor explosions as it prepared to shift to democracy by holding its first national elections after a century of absolute monarchy.

Police at the time said they suspected one of three militant organisations based in Nepal -- the Bhutan Tiger Force, the Bhutan Maoists Party and the Communist Party of Bhutan.

More than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese fled Bhutan for Nepal in the early 1990s, claiming ethnic and political persecution after Thimphu made national dress compulsory and banned the Nepalese language.

Bhutan claims the refugees were illegal immigrants. The Hindu refugees, who have no legal right to work or own land in Nepal, insist they are citizens of mainly Buddhist Bhutan.

Some of the numerous separatist groups active in northeast India once used Bhutan as a territory to plan attacks until a crackdown in the early part of the last decade.

On Thursday, the much-loved 31-year-old fifth king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is set to marry student Jetsun Pema in an occasion seen as a watershed moment in the history of the country.

Bhutan, famed for its invention of "Gross National Happiness" to measure progress and its citizens` well-being, is one of the most remote and insular places on Earth.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 00:39

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