The Attempted Coup in Bhutan

A serious problem (not mentioned in the Mongoose-Canine Letter) that emerged in the early 1970s was the ‘so-called Tibetan conspiracy organised by the Dalai Lama’s brother’ [Gyalo Dondrub or Thondup] to overthrow the government of Bhutan.311

Between four and six thousand Tibetan refugees chose to settle in this tiny country, which is geographically similar and ethnically and culturally related to Tibet. At first these Tibetans were warmly received, but in 1973 more than thirty people, twenty-two of them prominent Tibetan refugees, were arrested by the Bhutanese authorities in response to an alleged plot to assassinate the young Bhutanese king, just months before his official coronation. Among those arrested was the Dalai Lama’s personal representative in Bhutan, Lhading.312

Derek Davies, reporting in the Far Eastern Economic Review, writes that behind the group that planned the assassination:

‘ …is alleged to be the sinister figure of the Dalai Lama’s brother, Gyalo Thondup, who runs a well-funded Tibetan refugee group in Darjeeling, India. It is reliably reported that the group mounts raids across the Himalayan valleys via Sikkim into the Chinese province of Tibet.’313

With the involvement of both Gyalo Dondrub and the Dalai Lama’s own personal representative in this attempted coup, is it not reasonable to ask what role did the Dalai Lama himself play in it?