Dasho Benji Has DPT By Their Balls

Pema Gyamtsho

On 15th August 2014, the Deputy Minister Dasho Paljor J. Dorji (popularly known as Dasho Benji) while visiting the Facebook page “Bhutanese Forum”, chanced upon a comment posted by someone called Guy Harris Dorji which read, “So true what the DPT says about this government. We rather not have government because there is no impact of haven them (having them) except for negative impacts due to their greed. Aren’t we feeding them like pigs? The money which can be used to build bridges and roads are all eaten by the politicians. I am sure our country can handle quite well without a government. If re-election is too expensive, we can run the government under emergency rule.”

In response to that comment, Dasho Benji lightheartedly commented that, “After robbing the country blind, the DPT has the gumption to raise its voice. Hahaha! ”

That was it and he had promptly forgotten all about it. Incidentally, he had not even seen or read the DPT’s post in response to his comment. Thus, he was naturally shocked when the media, a few weeks later, contacted him for his response to the libel suit filed against him by DPT for the comment he had posted online.

Facebook, like other social media services, is simply a platform for exchange of personal, often contradictory, views with fellow users. Dasho Benji’s comment was just one such passing exchange, which was meant to be a humorous counter to what he thought was a baseless comment on our government by another person. Hence Dasho Benji, like most other users of social media, was surprised to learn that DPT had decided to file a defamatory suit against him for making an innocent and informal comment on Facebook.

Dasho Paljor J Dorji had a distinguished career with the Royal Government of Bhutan, serving three kings in the capacity of Magistrate of Paro District 1969-1972, High Court Judge 1972-1974, acting Chief Justice of Bhutan 1974-1985, Chief Justice of Bhutan 1985-1987, Deputy Minister for Social Services 1988-1991, Ambassador to the United Nations and European capitals 1991-1994, Deputy Minister to the National Environment Commission 1994-1997. As a loyal and dutiful servant to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Dasho Benji spearheaded a number of environment conservation efforts and initiated the Bhutan Trust Fund. His service has earned him a Global 500 Laureate from UNEP in 1988 and an Officer Order of The Golden Ark Netherlands presented by the late Prince Bernhard in 1994. Today he serves as a Special Advisor to the National Environment Commission under a Royal Command from His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Dasho Benji is therefore a senior citizen of distinguished accomplishments and is a well-regarded figure in Bhutan. As part of his social services, he hosts a talk show on Radio Valley 99.9 FM every Monday, titled “Good Evening Dasho Benji” and has visited schools and colleges across the country to campaign against drug abuse. He has never made any political statements or attacked any political party in his popular talk show or while interacting with the thousands of students he meets. As a matter of fact, Dasho Benji has no affiliation to any political party, his total loyalty being to his King and country.

Dasho Benji, therefore, cannot understand why DPT has blown his casual comment on Facebook out of context, purposely creating a serious controversy.

However, he is left with no option but to submit to the Royal Court of Law and defend his statement even though it was made casually and on a Facebook page that is full of wild accusations. More importantly, Dasho Benji feels that he must appeal to our courts to prevent the DPT from deliberately infringing on his fundamental right to freedom of speech, opinion and expression, granted to all Bhutanese by the Sacred Constitution.

The DPT’s court petition posted online verbatim states that, “If DPT is found guilty of robbing the country, it cannot and should not continue representing our people in the Parliament and should be dissolved…” Dasho Benji cannot see why the entire DPT must resign en bloc in response to his innocuous comment. However he sees a clear pattern: The DPT does not hesitate to hold our very nation at ransom by threatening to resign whenever they do not get their way. So far he has counted at least 4 threats by DPT to resign en masse or to dissolve the party. Such threats of democratic desertions are treasonous to the very spirit of our democracy of which DPT is integral part.

Bhutan Law Services will represent and defend Dasho Benji before the Honourable Courts. They will prove that DPT is infringing on Dasho Benji’s fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression. If instructed, they will defend Dasho Benji’s comment even though it was made casually and on a Facebook page that is host to many worse comments. To do so, they will draw the Honourable Courts’ attention to events that transpired during and immediately after the DPT’s term in government, and comment on their impact on our King, country and people.

DPT has called Dasho Benji’s comment “inflammatory, partisan and divisive” and accuse him of “undermining the unity, harmony, peace and prosperity of our nation.” These are very serious charges and the burden of proving each now befalls on DPT.

By deliberately blowing a causal comment on Facebook out of context, it is DPT who is actually “inflammatory, partisan and divisive”.

By threatening to resign en bloc, it is DPT who is actually “undermining the unity, harmony, peace and prosperity of our nation.”

On his part, Dasho Benji feels that the matter should not have been taken to court. He did not and does not intend to destroy any person or any political party. All he did was make an innocent comment, using a common English idiom, to take part in a Facebook discussion that had already gone out of hand. For his casual remark, the DPT has taken Dasho Benji to court, to the very institution that he presided over as the Chief Justice of Bhutan for a good 13 years.

The DPT has publicly humiliated Dasho Benji. They have challenged his integrity and honour. And they have portrayed him as a divisive person, even though they know fully well that he has rendered decades of faithful and continuous service to the Tsa-Wa-Sum.

Dasho Benji is left with no option. He will humbly submit to the Royal Courts of Law, and follow due process. However, he refuses to submit to the heavy-handedness of DPT, or to have his fundamental right of freedom of opinion and expression taken away by the very people who should be fighting to protect the fundamental rights of all Bhutanese.

 

>> This is the press release dated 26th September 2014 from Bhutan Law Services representing Dasho Benji.

10 Zing Goodpath
This story from 10 Zing Goodpath

10 Zing Goodpath is our ace sleuth reporter. Feared by all, this former freedom fighter, and now crime fighter writes for our weekly column “The Tibetan”.

Comments

  1. Fundamental human rights. DPT/PDP still thinks same old ways.

  2. Dasho Benji should take this case to ICJ for violation of fundamental human rights.

  3. Wai, interesting. I think everybody has been rewarded for what you have done for this nation (good or bad). Now it’s high time that our ex. seniors should not put their feet every where. If you do so, you get shit on your feet. Therefore, you better do some social work if you can or just do your own things. Let our dynamic politicians deal with it and if they can’t then our younger generations of this nation will. Bhutanese are not stupid and they are smarter than before.

  4. The writer here is only from on one side of the coin. If Dasho Benji is regarded and recognized as a distinguished senior citizen, then why he had to brag and remark with such a childish comment on DPT? Why can’t he make the same comment on PDP? Every Bhutanese citizen knows about the line drawn from above by a group of people bullying us. It is not a good sign for our future. If the citizens feel injustice, there is no country and no leader. Bhutan is a small country which could easily vanish into a thin air if it faces a serious political instability.

  5. It is very sad to see such things happening in our small society. Dasho Benji should not have made such a comments in the first place and then DPT should have ignored it.now thsi is dividing the society further with such charges and counter charges. What ever happened or not happened should be behind us now and it is time we work together. We should move forward and we are a small society and it very important that we stays united. If this is freedom of speech and democracy and free for all, then we need to think ourselves whether we want such things at all. For us, we would like to see politics as a tool to deliver much need services to the people and not play people around against each other. Without peace, harmony and trust in a small and vulnerable society like ours, we are doomed and if democracy s going to take away these very essential ingredients, then we do not want anything in the name of democracy. One should keep in mind that democracy was introduced to provide a forum to share our needs and find solution to deliver on our common interest. It is not to be used as a platform to enrich few individuals and not to be used as a platform to victimise. So my request is learn from our past mistakes,let us live together, improve for the common good. forget and stop digging who is behind who, use merit based and meritocracy as criteria. Let us work together so that one day people could sit together and share their likings and dislikes on political ideology with fear and favour. l

  6. Dasho Benji is the national traitor of Bhutan. DPT is an ass whole.

  7. Uncle Pann says:

    Benji is just a chamcha and a fool. He used to be thick with JYT and DPT when they were in power and now he’s playing up to PDP and their backer. Just look at his personal life – 2 divorces, problem with alcohol, and unfortunately his younger son passed away. More than anything I’d say cuts a pathetic figure and an example of how a privileged life can be wasted if u have no sense.

  8. Like Uncle Pann says Benji should keep his mouth shut . Everywhere the lions fight , like a hyena he will reach there barking up behind whoever might give him some left over scrap. First , losing all the money and property given by his then powerful father . Now , just loafing around and jumping all around to stay relevant. The Dorji family especially the Jigme Paldens side except for Dasho Kalden is becoming a joke now . Tsk tsk . Don’t like DPT either but at least they don’t have hyenas behind them all over . It’s irritating 😛

  9. Also , according to Benji’s late son Freddy’s friends , Benji used to discourage and insult Freddy all the time in front of people and called him useless and stuff . Freddy was working as a photographer and I guess was not making much money . No wonder Freddy got depressed . Dealing with our Bhutanese parents with their own crazy sometimes lead people over the cliffs

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