Tshering Palden

The Royal Bhutan Army headquarters on November 19 issued a circular to all its personnel reminding them to ‘remain apolitical’ and ‘NOT get involved in any political activities’.

“Anyone found violating the instructions will be dealt with severe disciplinary action,” the notice, which called for strict compliance, stated.

The Chief of Police Major General Chimi Dorji issued a similar notice to all police personnel on October 30.

“The police headquarters found that officers and other ranks are taking part in political activities by engaging through social media platforms,” the office order stated.

Section 43 of the Royal Bhutan Police Act states, “No person of the Royal Bhutan Police shall engage in political activities or align with any political party or organisations, or candidates in any way.”

The Chief of Police instructed all heads to inform “each and every person to avoid aligning themselves with any political party’ as enshrined in the Act.

If the headquarters gets any information or proof about the involvement of officers or others in contravention of the order, they shall be ‘dealt with severely’ as per the RBP Act and service rules, the notice stated.

This notice was followed by frequent written messages via social media groups to remind police personnel and officers to not engage in any political activities.

The Election Act states, “No person in the service of the Government shall in the conduct or management of an election do any act other than the giving of vote for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of a candidate.”

Any person who contravenes this provision will be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth degree.