Father clarifies that it was not a kidnap case

Community: Pem Tashi, 56, is relieved and overjoyed to have found his daughter Chenga Lham (Buku) 17 years after he last saw her as a 14-year old girl.

Pem Tashi, who is from of Lumina village in Kabjisa, Punakha said he clearly remembers how a man from across the border in Phuentsholing lured away Chenga Lham sometime in 1998.  Pem Tashi was working at a sawmill in Phuentsholing then.

“We informed the police in Phuentsholing, who managed to bring her back but unfortunately a few days later she went back,” said Pem Tashi. “We searched for her for years spending all our little savings but we failed to find her and lost hope.”

Although many suspected she had been kidnapped, Pem Tashi confirmed that it was not a kidnap case.

“Last year, I was about to delete her name from our census record and has even filed the request with the gewog, during which a cousin of mine living in Thimphu saw a Facebook post about his missing daughter,” he said.

A Facebook profile called the Jaigoan Mirror posted a picture of Chenga Lham online earlier last month. The administrator of Jaigoan Mirror asked for help in finding Chenga Lham’s  parents in Bhutan. According to the Facebook post, she was working as a maid in Sikkim. The post was eventually shared several times and some Facebook users identified Chenga Lham, and it was brought to the attention of those in Lumina.

As a result of the Facebook post and the help of the police Pem Tashi managed to find his daughter’s contact details.

“Police in Punakha closely coordinated with Sikkim police to confirm her presence in Sikkim and then informed her father Pem Tashi in Kabjisa,” a police source said. Punakha police also crosschecked with Kabjisa gewog officials in regards to information they received from Sikkim.

Pem Tashi said police initially decided to go and get his daughter but he requested that he be allowed to go instead. “I couldn’t wait to see my daughter and immediately contacted her and we decided to meet,” he said.

“I couldn’t stop crying and was overjoyed to see my daughter,” he said. “She has almost forgotten our language but she is living a very good life.”

Chenga Lham has been married to a Sikkimese man and has two children, a boy and a girl. Both children are enrolled in school and they have their own house. She is known as Priyanka in Sikkim.

“I am glad to find her well settled with a family and a caring husband, who works as a carpenter,” Pem Tashi said. He added that he expected otherwise.

Changa Lham is the eldest of Pem Tashi’s four children. Their mother passed away a few years ago. It has been four days since Pem Tashi brought his daughter home along with his two grandchildren.

Pem Tashi said he was grateful to the police for their support.

Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha