In the case between the two categories of residents of Semji village in Trongsa, representatives of the ten households (the Zurps) are now invoking the Constitution to argue their case.
They submitted during the rebuttal on Thursday that the Threps could not impose local taxes or force them to participate in religious activities that they were not willing. They quoted Section 4 of article 7, Fundamental Rights, which states that a Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. No person shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement.
They submitted to the court that religious activates are done when one has faith and devotion, but not under compulsion. Zurps requested the court to respect their right given by the Constitution.
The Zurps submitted that the title Zurps and Threps are different as the ancestral land and cattle for religious activities (choednor) belong to the Threps, which for many years they have been imposed with the taxes. They requested the court to check the thram.
They submitted that the religious activities should not be imposed on people if there is no willingness to do so or contribute.
They also submitted that they have been contributing in the religious activities as per the faith and devotion although there was no compulsion. “Anywhere, all the religious activities are conducted as per ones faith and devotion for ones merit, but is never conducted under compulsion or mentioned in the law,” said one.
They also submitted that, if the Threps cannot do what the ancestors had been doing, they have to find ways to carry out the traditions and not force others to contribute. They also claimed that they had been doing the work of messenger and contributed to any works included in the development plan.
The rebuttal hearing for the case is completed and the evidence hearing will be conducted soon.
Nim Dorji | Trongsa