Give up the Tibetan cause, get an Indian passport

All Tibetans in exile in India need an Identity Certificate (Yellow Book) issued by the Indian Government declaring their refugee status with limited rights for purposes of travel. Ethnic Tibetans with an Indian passport however, are accorded the same rights as every other Indian citizen.

The opinion piece below was sent to dorjeshugden.com for publication. We accept submissions from the public, please send in your articles to ds@dorjeshugden.com.

 


 

By: Solaray Kusco

The Tibetans in-exile seem to be heading towards obsolescence. For some time now, there has been an Indian law in place making it legal for those of Tibetan descent born between January 1950 and July 1987, to hold Indian passports which by default makes them Indian citizens. That law has recently been tested in the Indian courts and has become precedent. Many Tibetans are flocking to become Indian nationals and to enjoy the rights of a free and democratic country.

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In 1959, India graciously accepted the influx of Tibetan refugees and granted them a 99-year lease on 24 tracts of land throughout India on the condition that they remain there as refugees. As refugees without any legal rights, the Indian government sought to ease the difficult conditions faced by the refugees by granting them protectorate status as well, allowing them to travel outside of their 24 Tibetan settlements (this number could have changed by now) and internationally.

However, in order for a Tibetan to enter or leave these settlements, they must register their movements at local police stations and Tibetan refugees travelling within India and abroad must first have the relevant travelling papers, or Identity Card (‘yellow book’) issued by the Indian government. This in turn is on the condition that they have a proper registration certificate issued by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) which they must renew, and this is where the challenge is, because the CTA is notorious for denying their own people the necessary documents if they are found not to toe the CTA line or simply because they have opinions that are different to those of the Tibetan leadership. The Tibetan Dorje Shugden followers have suffered greatly in this respect. All these unwritten and arbitrary rules make life very difficult for a people who are already handicapped by being stateless.

While the Tibetan people welcome the move by the Indian government to grant Indian passports and hence citizenship to those who qualify, they are strangely offended by the conditions imposed. In essence, once a Tibetan is granted an Indian passport he can no longer retain his Tibetan identity documents which comes with some entitlements such as being able to live in the Tibetan settlements. This has led some Tibetans such as Lobsang Wangyal of the Tibet Sun to voice their discontent. According to the stipulations being enforced by the Indian government, a Tibetan candidate for an Indian passport must, in effect, give up his or her rights as a Tibetan refugee (such as being able to live in the settlements, rights to subsidies, and foreign scholarships), a move which would in practice integrate them into Indian society with all the benefits thereof.

The move towards Indian citizenship hails more rights for Tibetans, not a loss of their culture

It is strange that the Tibetans should feel aggrieved by the Indian government’s conditions but why would the Indian government allow a Tibetan to be an Indian national and a Tibetan refugee at the same time? Which government in the world can allow that and how is that even possible?

This situation has raised a number of interesting points for all to consider:

 

Why Tibetans want Indian citizenship

To have Indian citizenship is attractive to Tibetan refugees as it would immediately remove a multitude of problems they are presently facing – ease of travel, qualification for gainful employment and common ground to engage with Indian society where they have lived in exile for decades.

  1. The wish to become lawful citizens. Currently, under the CTA, Tibetans are in stateless limbo, without a valid identity and with very limited entitlements, and no protection from the United Nations and other international bodies.
  2. The wish to travel freely. Tibetans are completely dependent on an archaic and indiscriminate CTA system for their travel papers which is difficult to obtain. And even after complying with strenuous conditions that proper citizens of nations enjoy casually, it is still troublesome for them to travel freely and some countries such Sweden even reject the validity of the Tibetan travel document.
  3. The wish to own property. Given their refugee status, Tibetans are not allowed to own property of any kind and hence do not enjoy security.
  4. The wish for financial security. Unlike Indian citizens, Tibetans are denied this opportunity to explore business and career opportunities in order to secure a future for themselves and their family.
  5. To mitigate lost hope. The Tibetans have given up on their leaders after decades of false hopes, broken promises and what is at best superficial efforts by the CTA to improve their quality of life. The CTA politicians on the other hand do not suffer the same fate as those who depend on them.
  6. Familiarity with India. After six decades, older generation Tibetans have acclimatized to the new life whilst the younger generations have no concept of life in Tibet. India is home to them.
  7. Fees to live abroad. Many Tibetans would like to emigrate abroad to places like Japan and the USA. But the extortionate fees charged by agents who arrange visas for Tibetans, who then claim political asylum as soon as they arrive at their destination, are beyond the means of an average Tibetan. Charged anywhere between Rs.800,000 – Rs.1,100,000 (roughly USD12,000- USD17,000), only Tibetans who have access to significant funding, like CTA officials, have any hope of making it to another country and once there, claiming political asylum that usually leads to full citizenship.

Comments left on the Tibet Sun article show that Tibetans endorse giving up Tibetan identity if they choose to become Indian citizens. Click to enlarge.

Even Tibetans in McLeod Ganj, the heart of Dharamsala, know the difficulties in getting an Identify Certificate, and would rather have an Indian passport. Click to enlarge.

 

Why Tibetans having Indian citizenship damages the CTA

Every single Tibetan deciding on Indian citizenship undermines the already shaky standing of the CTA. In the final analysis, the CTA has nothing to offer except well-worn pipe dreams.

  1. The CTA would have less influence. When a Tibetan becomes an Indian citizen, he is free of the binds of the CTA’s harmful and extremely oppressive policies. The CTA will lose control of the Tibetan people who will now be protected by Indian law and be entitled to all privileges available to citizens of India. And as the Tibetan person’s quality of life as an Indian national improves, he is less likely to pay any heed to the CTA’s old rhetoric.
  2. Reduced aid from abroad. The CTA has survived purely on handouts given by well-meaning countries and groups who are concerned about the welfare of the Tibetan people. Therefore if the Tibetan people are no longer stuck in a hapless situation, the need for these funds should correspondingly reduce and hence the justification for the CTA to ask for money diminishes. The CTA’s unquestioned, unaudited, unmarked gravy train would slow down and then stop altogether. It becomes much harder for the CTA to get money especially now when doubts about where the money has been going begin to emerge. The CTA leaders are well-known by the Tibetans to be highly corrupt.
  3. Accelerates the end of the ‘Tibetan Cause’. The CTA relies on the fact that the Tibetan people have no country to call home. If Tibetans take up citizenship in India, they now do have a country – India. They are no longer stateless, and fighting for their lost country of Tibet would not make sense, thus losing sympathy votes for aid, free money, and handouts. And the Tibetans on the whole are a master in putting on a good show for a handout. After all, what legitimate citizen of a nation, even if naturalized, can claim for help from other nations? Support yourself.
  4. CTA’s inadequacies become obvious – Opportunities and Education. Being an Indian citizen opens up many new opportunities for the erstwhile Tibetan refugee, and paves the way for a better life. This would highlight the CTA’s negligence and incapacities, and overall disinterest in helping their community.
  5. Loss of identity. Becoming Indian citizens would mean the first step of Tibetans assimilating into Indian culture, much like Tibetans who migrated to Nepal centuries ago and are no longer distinguishable from the local Nepalese culture. With the loss of Tibetan identity, there is also less of a reason to fight for Tibet. This is not a unique experience; any refugee who is naturalized becomes a part of that nation in spirit, guarding the laws, and becoming a integrated member of that country’s society. So their loyalties for the nation they have left would fade away in time as new generations emerge and are born directly into those foreign countries. Therefore, Tibet does become a part of China, not only legally but by virtue of the fact that Tibetans naturalized as citizens elsewhere are less concerned about their country of origin.

It is clear that people believe India to be of more benefit than the CTA. India has done more for the Tibetans than their own government. Click to enlarge.

 

CTA’s failure towards Tibetans

Given so much Tibetan interest in Indian citizenship, it has to be asked – what made the CTA such a failure that their own people are now looking to become citizens of other countries?

  1. The CTA have accomplished nothing for their people. Despite staged portrayals, the CTA have not done much for its people. The asylum, land and new life that the refugees currently enjoy were bestowed upon them by a benevolent India. The CTA has done very little to improve the people’s livelihood and future. As proof we see how many Tibetans who went into voluntary exile to follow the Tibetan leadership have since emigrated to other countries. Many even decided to return to the Tibet Autonomous Rule under China which is a slap to the CTA. Those who continue to trust the CTA remain poor and dependant. Contrary to prevalent beliefs, the influx of Tibetans seeking refuge in India has significantly lessened. On the whole, Tibetans no longer want to leave Tibet to live in India under the CTA.
  2. No sign of going home. While the CTA have always maintained that their aim is to regain Tibet, over 60 years have passed and there is no sign that this is even possible, or that they are on the right track. Generations of Tibetan lives have been sacrificed. The CTA and many of the exiled Tibetans, although enjoying many benefits in India are still not self-reliant and asking for handouts, which contradicts Tibetans who migrate out of India, who do not ask for handouts. This is clear proof that the CTA has failed, as Tibetan immigrants in other countries do not rely on handouts because they are not under the jurisdiction nor rely on the CTA. Tibetans in the UK, Canada and Japan for example do not ask any government, let alone the Trump administration, for financial help.
  3. Failed approaches. Whether it is rangzen (full independence) or umaylam (meaningful autonomy) the Tibetan cause remains academic as there is no evidence to indicate that the CTA can successfully draw the Chinese government to negotiate because the CTA’s methods continue to be ineffective. Neither have the Tibetan leaders been able to enrol Indian politicians to truly support their campaigns. The CTA fail to realize they should stop courting Western governments and start befriending China. Since the international community accept that Tibet is a part of China, the Tibetan people’s salvation lies in the hands of China itself.
  4. Leased land. The Tibetans are running out of time as India did not give the land to the Tibetans but merely leased it for 99 years. More than half of that lease has been exhausted but still, 30 years remain. In offering Indian citizenship to the Tibetan people with 30 years left on the lease, the Indian government signals its disbelief that the Tibetans will ever regain their country, despite having another three decades available to them. Perhaps, the wise Indian government is preparing the refugee Tibetans for the eventual demise of the Dalai Lama who is the magnet that draws the money from abroad for the CTA to sponge off of. Everyone knows that the financial drawing power for the Tibetan refugees in India is the Dalai Lama, and he is 83 years of age.

Over the last 60 years the CTA have not even secured land for Tibetans after the 99 year lease from India is over. Click to enlarge.

 

Why staying as refugees does not help the Tibetans

In trusting the CTA, the Tibetan people find themselves having to ask an honest question – what benefit is there to remain Tibetan refugees?

  1. Being refugees means they continue to depend on an illegitimate ‘government’, and to continue to live without democratic rights, and to not be entitled to United Nation protection, to not have real opportunities and also to have a bleak and unsure future given the way the CTA loses global friends and supporters at an alarming rate. The only reason anyone gives consideration or financial aid to the Tibetans is because of the Dalai Lama, and the Dalai Lama will not live forever.
  2. Restricted travel. As China’s influence grows, anything related to CTA becomes taboo and more and more countries will close its doors to Tibetans in exile. Those with a Yellow Book will find it increasingly difficult to enter any country, and the Yellow Book will eventually no longer be considered a legitimate travel document when traveling abroad. It has already been banned in Sweden.
  3. False sense of entitlement. Under the CTA’s poor leadership, some Tibetans have developed the mind-set that they are entitled to handouts rather than have to earn it like everyone else in the world. You see this in the comments made by Tibetans criticizing the Indian government’s policies. This mentality does not augur well for the Tibetan people in a highly competitive and skilled world.

Tibetans consider it reasonable to give up their Tibetan rights to become Indian citizens. It begs the question, if their government was not mismanaging their people, wouldn’t Tibetans rather prefer to stay under the CTA? Click to enlarge.

 

The suggestion that becoming an Indian citizen means selling out

There is a prevailing sentiment in the Tibetan community that to no longer depend on the CTA and be willing to suffer unnecessarily as a refugee, is to betray the Tibetan cause. But the same standard is not applied to CTA politicians and Tibetan leaders.

  1. Returning to Tibet. If a Tibetan decides to become a naturalized Indian citizen, he is instantly seen as no longer wishing to return to Tibet and hence a traitor who has betrayed the cause. Why is it that in order to safeguard a better life, essentially doing something that the CTA is supposed to be doing but failed, the ordinary Tibetan must be subjected to such abuse? This is how the CTA psychologically controls and abuses its own people.
  2. Stigma. Either way, under the leadership of the CTA, the Tibetan refugee is stigmatized – as a freeloading refugee who refuses to help himself if he does not seek Indian citizenship, or alternatively a traitor if he decides to help himself and become an Indian citizen. The choice however is clear since being a refugee bears legal, regulatory and diplomatic implications whereas being a ‘traitor’ is merely a matter of opinion.
  3. Loss of trust – A fact. Regardless of opinion, the fact that Tibetans are even considering Indian citizenship, even going to court for it, means there is significant loss of faith in the CTA. The threat of being labelled a ‘traitor’ is not even a significant factor as Tibetans are well aware that most CTA officials hold Indian passports and that of other countries. Oddly, instead of directing their frustration at their own hypocritical leaders, Tibetans vent their irritation at the Indian government who are already at considerable disadvantage by hosting the Tibetan refugees for decades, to the ire of China, a powerful neighbour and necessary trade partner. Supporting the Tibetan refugees has proven to be a losing proposition for India.
  4. Betraying His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As much as being a refugee is to deny oneself a range of rights and opportunities, some Tibetans are made to feel that taking Indian citizenship is a direct insult to the Dalai Lama. This in essence is to inflict spiritual suicide for a people who are staunchly religious and superstitious. In addition, if most of the refugees in India are becoming Indian citizens and or citizens of other countries, will the Dalai Lama continue with his Yellow Book or become a naturalized Indian citizen? After all, the Dalai Lama himself is a supposed refugee, but by the looks of how the CTA lives, there is not any semblance of being a genuine refugee.

Strongly-worded reply aimed at Tibetans who have emigrated abroad commenting about what Tibetans living in India should do. Click to enlarge.

 

Why it is wrong for Tibetans to vent their frustrations at India

The Tibet Sun article and many of the comments therein are directed at the Indian authorities in a negative way. Would it not make more sense to discuss matters with the government in a friendly and polite manner, rather than threaten legal action or make demands? After all, the Indian government has gone beyond the call of duty for the refugees for 60 years, and the Tibetans are still complaining. Ungrateful is an understatement. India provided safe asylum for Tibetan mothers, fathers and families after they fled Tibet. They basically allowed the Tibetans to live on their lands for free, out of the kindness of their hearts, without any preconditions or expectations, for example for taxes to be paid. Making demands of the Indian government does not benefit the Tibetans, especially since as subjects of the CTA, they enjoy no rights within the Indian political system. It also shows why many observers believe that sooner or later, the CTA and Tibetans in exile will lose India’s support.

Nothing in the Indian conditions for passport raises red flags. However, there are some potential reasons why the Indian government may make it difficult for the Tibetans to naturalize easily.

  1. Risk of upsetting China. The Chinese consider Tibetans to be a part of Tibet, therefore giving Indian citizenship may be viewed as an assault on the sovereignty of their people. The Tibetans have become the bane of political stability within the region.
  2. Since the CTA exists, Tibetans do not really need or want citizenship. The existence of the CTA and the Tibetan people’s support for their “government” in exile can be taken to mean that the Tibetans already regard themselves as citizens of a defunct Tibetan nation regardless of the fact that the CTA is a government with no country.
  3. An insult to India. It is well-known that Tibetans travel to other countries and naturalize there. This could be seen as an insult, that they do not see India as a worthy country to which they would want to belong. India has granted them so much over the last 60 years, asking nothing in return, yet Tibetans repay this kindness by emigrating to other countries, or complaining that the Indian government is unfair in its stipulations for citizenship, as stated in the article. In fact, the stipulations to become naturalized are simple and fair. The Tibetans again want the easy way out, a free hand – citizenship with no conditions.
  4. To ensure Tibetans really want to become Indian. A harder process may be India’s way of gauging the Tibetan applicant’s commitment to become a citizen. After all, a citizen cannot be loyal to two separate countries.
  5. To force Tibetans to return to China. India may not even really want an influx of Tibetans as Indian citizens. After all, the Tibetans have contributed little to India in almost 60 years and to do more for the Tibetan people could strain Sino-Indian relations. Instead, India may be giving the Tibetan people reasons to return to Tibet as many have recently.
  6. Souring diplomatic relations. The CTA have failed to successfully advance diplomatic relations with India since the time of Prime Minster Nehru, giving little reasons for India to go out on more of a limb for the Tibetan people. In fact, the Tibetans create more tensions to prevent Sino-Indian relations from normalizing. Tibetans in exile are in fact happy when Sino-Indian relations are strained because they see it as a benefit to themselves. They never consider the benefits of their kind host country of India. If Sino-Indian relations normalize and become friendly, it would benefit over 1 billion Indians, as well as stabilize Asia, for China and India are the two massive Asian giants. Their peaceful co-existence is crucial for stability in Asia. Tibetans only think of themselves.
  7. Growing tensions are rising. The Indian government is aware of rising negative sentiments against the Tibetan refugee populace who gain so much (e.g. not having to pay taxes) and yet give so little in return. The Lal Qilla fire at the Tibetan sweater market is evidence of this tension. Naturalized Tibetans may be perceived to take Indian jobs and adding to job market competition, leading to even more tension.

Many Tibetans are aware that the hospitality of India can run out. Why make enemies with them? Click to enlarge.

 

Why the Tibetan leadership remains silent

Where is the CTA in all this debacle? Rather than speaking up, telling their people to either remain under the CTA, or even helping them through their difficulties with the Indian government, the Tibetan leadership have not uttered a single word about the issue.

There might be a number of reasons for this:

  1. Do not want to upset Indian government. There is a possibility that the CTA wishes to avoid being seen as demanding as they have taken so much for 60 years and given nothing in return.
  2. Avoid exposure. It is a well-known fact among Tibetans in exile that their top leaders such as Sikyong (President) Lobsang Sangay and Dhardon Sharling (Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations) hold foreign passports and citizenships despite this being forbidden by Indian law. Even other figures such as Pema Chonjor and Dickey Choyang, have American and Candadian citizenships, as well as Yellow Books. And therefore the same leaders are leaving it to the ordinary Tibetan to sort out the problem to avoid being questioned about this gross double standard. This double standard itself indicates a serious problem within the Tibetan political setup – gross inequality that raises the question of how genuinely the Tibetan leaders are representing the Tibetan people.
  3. Silence because of hypocrisy. Since it is known they do not follow their own policies and operate with double standards, the CTA do not want to highlight the fact otherwise they would look even worse. It is odd that the CTA should be so aggressive and vocal when it comes to discriminating against a religious practice such as Dorje Shugden and yet remain cowardly meek when it comes to such important issues that affects the future of the Tibetan people.
  4. They do not know what to do. Perhaps the most worrying of all, is that the CTA may not be doing anything about the situation because they simply do not know what to do in the situation. If this is the case, it is better the Tibetans brave the difficulties in gaining Indian citizenship. How can anyone rely on such a weak and impotent government? We saw the same ineptitude and lethargy in the way the CTA failed to curb the spate of self-immolations.

It is a well-known fact that the CTA’s top leaders, such as Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Dhardon Sharling have foreign passports as well CTA identity documents. Click to enlarge.

 

Who is right?

While some commentators say that the Indian authorities are being unfair, we have to look objectively at the conditions they imposed on Tibetans applying for Indian passports.

  1. Logical. An objective examination of the conditions imposed on Tibetans applying for Indian passports concludes that the stipulations are in fact quite reasonable. After all, how can someone claim to be a stateless Tibetan refugee AND a citizen of India at the same time? As a matter of fact, the existence of the CTA who classes itself as the de facto government on a land that has its own elected and legitimate government itself is illogical. Two separate and distinct governments cannot exist on the same land. If all Tibetans become naturalized Indian citizens, how can they continue to work for or support the CTA as a de facto government in exile? Whose rulings and policies would take precedence, the Indian government or the Tibetan leadership’s? The CTA has it own Prime Minister or President, which is Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, which shows it is its own political body. How can there be two Prime Ministers in one country?
  2. Fair demands. Since India has already gone out on a limb to provide, at great cost, for Tibetans for 60 years, it is wrong and unfair to think of India’s conditions which are required by law, to be onerous and unreasonable. As it is the Indian government has granted the Tibetan people protection under an asylum, land on which Tibetan settlements stand, and tolerated the Tibetan leadership for decades. But instead of being grateful to India for this privilege, the Tibetan leadership and their supporters choose to complain about the conditions that India imposes upon them. Have they forgotten that the only reason the leadership even has a place to station themselves is due to the kindness of the Indian leadership? The very fact the Dalai Lama is allowed to do as he pleases and the Tibetans are always campaigning for a free Tibet on Indian soil, which is itself a strain on Sino-Indian relations, shows the broad latitude the Tibetans have been given. Yet they are not satisfied and demand more. The Tibetans need to realize that having an Indian passport is a privilege, not an entitlement.

It is logical that Tibetans give up the benefits of being considered a refugee if they become Indian citizens. Here a Tibetan asks the author of the article to “have shame brother, have shame” (translation from Hindi) about his comments that India is making Tibetans give up their Tibetan identity. Click to enlarge.

 

The end of the CTA

It does not take much to see that the entire basis of the CTA’s existence is flawed, the reasoning of the Tibetans fraught with self-serving considerations and the behaviour of the Tibetan leadership anarchical and absurd. In a world where information flows freely and the world is becoming globalized, how far can the CTA go with the way they have been conducting themselves and supposedly ‘governing’ their own people? Just like their many abusive policies such as their persecution of a large community of their own people based on religion, the CTA’s policies are increasingly being exposed to be juvenile, delinquent and downright unlawful. Just by looking at this Indian passport saga reveals a lot about the CTA and the bizarre culture they have engendered.

Indian citizenship secures the future of Tibetans and their descendants. The CTA does not.

The fact that many people are beginning the process of becoming Indian citizens, does not speak well for the CTA who have had ample time to improve their people’s situation, and neither does it bode well for their future. In fact it shows the CTA’s outright and abysmal failure as an administration of a small group of refugees. They have not improved the lives of its people, and neither have they regained their country, either through independence, meaningful autonomy, or friendly relations with China. In essence it is because of the CTA’s inability that ordinary Tibetans are now forced to get citizenship from India. This was not something they would have done decades ago, but as the CTA continue with their mismanagement, corruption and bad politics, the Tibetans themselves are forced to act on their own.

A prediction of the end of the CTA by a Tibetan from New York, USA. Click to enlarge.

Overall, the CTA are not grateful towards India, even though they have some rights under the guise of being a refugee. If you look at the standard of living of many Tibetans in their settlements, it is much higher than their Indian counterparts. Many of the “refugees” in the Tibetan settlements in India actually own very beautiful cars, mansions, carry two passports (illegally), and yet they remain unhappy as well as ungrateful towards India.

Why do you never hear about Tibetans speaking up for Indian causes or Indian orphans? Why do you not hear of the CTA creating orphanages, soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters, rehabilitation facilities for local Indians, millions of whom live well below the poverty line? Why do the Tibetan guests not master Indian culture or learn to read and write Indian languages fluently? Why do they not master Indian dance, art, or music? Why is it that the so-called “refugees” never sell textiles produced by single mothers in India, who sincerely need help to survive? Likewise, Tibetans do not open up hospitals or clinics to treat the local Indian populace, or care for the elderly and dying, like Mother Theresa did in Calcutta. Someone like Mother Theresa was granted the honor of Indian citizenship for her 50 years of service, during which she relieved the plight of the poor, sick and homeless in India, and she asked for nothing in return. She was a foreigner as well.

The majority of Tibetans in India and their so-called CTA “leaders” never address issues such as how to relieve the social ills plaguing India, her poverty, or discuss how Tibetans can contribute to Indian society. Yet they quibble, argue and sue their host country’s government for a passport that they are really not entitled to. It is an honor, a blessing and privilege to carry an Indian passport, graciously bestowed on a Tibetan refugee, and yet in their ingratitude all they think about is migrating to another county. Tibetans deserve human dignity and opportunities like everyone else, but they should stop whining over their supposed difficulties as refugees in India, and forcing the privilege of having citizenship.

No country in the world has been as generous and kind to the Tibetan diaspora as Mother India has. Yet they receive nothing in return. Perhaps the Dalai Lama and his “democratically” appointed secular and spiritual leaders should teach their community the physical and tangible ways to repay the biggest kindness they have received since 1959, during the most darkest of moments in Tibetan history.

The CTA’s own machinations have landed them in their own snares. As the CTA’s significance wanes, the Tibetan people will eventually no longer feel the need to listen to anything the CTA says, but will instead be obliged to follow democratic Indian law, as does every other Indian citizen.

 


 

Get Indian passport and become homeless for a second time

Passport of India

By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 22 June 2017

Becoming homeless for a second time, Tibetans in India who are applying for an Indian passport have been told to leave the settlements where they were born and lived their whole lives.

Following the Delhi High Court order in September 2016 that all Tibetans born in India between January 1950 to July 1987 are Indian citizens by birth and should be issued passports, many Tibetans started applying for their passport.

Since the court order, some have obtained passports, while others are encountering various obstructions.

New rules issued by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, have put an even greater stumbling block in the way of Tibetans seeking passports.

Tibet Sun obtained a copy of the new rules which state that Tibetans who apply for a passport cannot live in the Tibetan settlements.

Two women from Bylakuppe who applied for a passport in Bangalore were told that they must provide a different address other than their settlement address in order to process their applications, and that they can no longer live in the settlement.

The Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Bangalore handed the new rules to a monk who after getting his passport was told to surrender his Registration Certificate (RC, the stay permit for Tibetans), and to fulfil the conditions of the new rules.

The rules state:

  1. Registration Certificate and Identity Certificate should be cancelled.
  2. Applicant should not be staying at any of the designated Tibetan Refugee Settlements.
  3. Application should furnish an undertaking/declaration on plain paper to the effect that he no longer enjoys CTA [Central Tibetan Administration] benefits.
  4. Applicant should provide an undertaking/declaration on plain paper that he no longer enjoys any privileges including subsidies which would have accrued to him/her by virtue of being a RC holder and that these have been returned/surrendered.

With respect to Sl no 1, your identity Certificate has been received in this office and the same is retained in safe custody.

Regarding the Registration Certificate, you are advised to furnish the cancellation certificate from the concerned FRRO Office to which you have surrendered the same also certifying that you are not residing at the designated Tibetan Refugee Settlement.

Click to read the letter

The monk from Bangalore signed an undertaking to this effect when he surrendered his RC.

Tsering, a Tibetan resident of Forsyth Ganj near McLeod Ganj, whose application is pending due to a permanent address issue, said that he was asked to sign an undertaking at Shimla RPO stating that he will not take benefits of CTA.

The rules have put Tibetans in a dilemma as they want the benefits of a passport, but applying for one would make them homeless.

Further, the rules are confusing in saying that an applicant can no longer enjoy CTA benefits. CTA is an independent entity, run by exile Tibetans with the main aims of working for a free Tibet and looking after the welfare of Tibetans.

The question arises whether Tibetans after getting Indian passport are no longer a part of the CTA, and cannot get benefits such as the Fulbright scholarships sponsored the US government.

Not every benefit and opportunity managed by CTA is dependent on holding an RC. What about the fact that many top leaders in the CTA do not possess RC — including the Sikyong (President of CTA)?

Advocate Simarpal Sawhney in Delhi in an interview told Tibet Sun that these new MEA rules for Tibetans are in violation of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

“These rules are made by some officials, not following any existing law. There is every reason to challenge these rules in court,” Sawhney said.

Meanwhile, due to lack of clear information at various RPOs about the court order to issue passport to Tibetans and the procedure to process applications, many Tibetans are left in limbo.

A Tibetan monk from Mainpat told Tibet Sun that the RPO Raipur, the capital of Indian state Chattisgarh, refused to accept his application.

“I was told by the officials of RPO Raipur that Tibetans will not be issued passports,” the monk said.

There has been no reply to an email enquiry about the issue, and all calls to the RPO have gone unanswered.

The RPO denying passports to Tibetans is seen as defying the Delhi High Court order of 22 September 2016, as well as the MEA letter of 17 March 2017, ordering RPOs to issue passport to eligible Tibetans (born between 1950 and 1987, and their children).

Many Tibetans under the jurisdiction of Kangra Suprintendant of Police receive an adverse police verification report, stating they don’t own land and property, and hence their permanent address cannot be approved.

They are then stuck not knowing what to do, wondering if possessing land or property is a condition to get a passport, which it is not.

Due to lack of clear rules about processing and surrendering RC and IC (the Yellow Book issued to Tibetans for travel purposes in place of a passport), Tibet Sun filed a RTI (Right to Information) request with the following questions:

  1. What is the procedure to surrender IC (the Yellow Book) when people of Tibetan parentage apply for a new Indian passport following the Delhi High Court order?
  2. If there is a rule regarding surrender of IC, have all the RPOs been instructed to follow the rule?
  3. Should the RPOs return the IC to the holder, as the book has the person’s travel record?
  4. Should the RPOs mention the IC number in the ‘Old Passport number’ field at the back of the new Indian passport?
  5. Have there been any instructions to the FROs on how and when to surrender the Registration Certificate (RC)? Should the RC be surrendered at the nearest FRO like the IC is surrendered at the nearest RPO after getting the passport?

And the reply from the Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) Division of the MEA, which is the authority responsible for issuing passports and ICs, was in part:

Point No.1:-
It may be noted that as per the provisions of Rule 13 of Passport Rules, 1980, a person at a certain point of time may not hold two valid travel documents and he has to surrender one of the two passports/valid travel documents to the Passport Authority.

Points No.2, 3 and 4:-
As such no information is available in this office (PV.I Section) of CPV Division of MEA. Hence, no information can be provided in this regard.

Point No.5:-
The information sought by the applicant does not pertain to this office and may be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Click to read the letter

The RTI request was sent by post on 19 May, after the online RTI submittal form failed to work. A complaint to the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, about the failure of the online form went unanswered.

Click to read the full report

 

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  1. This is a sobering post that all Indians should read. Actually, everyone who has ever helped the Tibetans should read.

    The Tibetan refugee population is small but on the wealth scale, the Tibetans are much better off than most Indians in unimaginable ways. Often it looks like the Indians are the poor refugees in our own country and yet we have to do so much for the Tibetan people. It wouldn’t be so bad if the Tibetans were kind but just look at how they expect favors, special exceptions and privileges. Here the Tibetan journalist was whining about how difficult it is to get an Indian passport. MOST Indians will never leave their village and will die there because they are too poor to travel.

    I think Jawaharlal made a compassionate decision to grant asylum to the Dalai Lama in 1960 and I think the Tibetan leaders should now be compassionate and not cause friction between China and our country. So many border skirmishes between Chinese troops and our men go unreported and the Tibetan card does not help one bit.

    Today 170 Million Indians live below the poverty line with less than $1 a day to spend. How much aid, how many tens of millions have been given to a mere 150,000 Tibetan refugees none of whom are without homes and suddenly the Tibetans look bloody rich compared to us Indians. Enough is enough.

    I am all for kindness but I vehemently reject foolishness. SO what is wrong if the Tibetan has to become and Indian and to stop taking and start contributing to the Indian society and economy? What’s wrong if they have to work and pay taxes like everyone else?

    So the Tibetans lost their country for 50 years. So what? We Indians had to bow to colonial masters for a good 60 years and then spend decades finding our feet. Did we impose on our neighbors and say, look here, we are enslaved and it becomes now you duty to look after us to your own detriment?

    If the Dalai Lama truly respects Ghandi and wants to shape the Tibetn nation after a Ghandian model, then hush up, knuckle down, be smart, play nice and engage your aggressor and win your independence or whatever takes your fancy. We did it the hard way. Why should the Tibetans be any different?

  2. Tibetans want this. Tibetans are not happy with that. The Tibetans deserve this and have a right to everything another citizen of India gets. Tibetans have a over-bloated sense of entitlement. It is amazing how greedy and grabby Tibetans in India are.

    INDIA OWES NOTHING TO THE TIBETANS. Tibetans do no deserve an Indian passport. Tibetan have lived in India for 60 years for free and contributed nothing back to India. No charities for Indians or any help for her poor. Giving nothing back at all. Why are the Tibetans so demanding? Why do the Tibetans deserve anything? Kick them all out if they keep demanding this or that of India.

  3. For many of us, India is the only country we have. Despite calling ourselves Tibetans, we have never set foot to Tibet. We have to live our lives now and cannot wait for the promise of a Free Tibet or autonomy by the Central Tibetan Administration who does nothing to help. Many elderly Tibetans in the community now believe they will never return to Tibet. It has been 60 years and they now raise their grandchildren who are the 3rd generation Tibetans in exile.

    I’m glad that an Indian passport is now an option to us, thanks to Lobsang Wangyal’s effort. However, for those of us who lived our whole lives in a settlement, that would mean losing our only home that we know. On the other hand, we too cannot continue to live under the control of self-segregation by exile leaders fearful of losing our cultural identity and hence causing us to not assimilate into India despite being born here. Yet, those of us who want to get an Indian passport will have to live with the stigma of being labelled as traitor who are ungrateful to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but what real choices do we have?

    India provides us free education, healthcare services, scholarships, reserved seats, and even voter IDs to eligible Tibetan refugees. However, we cannot apply for government jobs,our movement within/outside India is limited, and we can’t own land/property. Many Indians see Tibetans as parasites and unemployment rates are as high as 75% for Tibetans here in India. Some of us went to university but then it is hard competing with the more numerous Indian graduates.

    There is now a way out, but is the price too heavy for us to pay?

  4. Finally the truth is laid bare for the world to see. Some people really don’t get it, they are always so self-entitled for one thing or another, sadly some Tibetans still bite the hand that feeds them, or literally gave them the means (land) to feed themselves. I have grown up around Tibetans, and even though some of those that i know are the nicest people, there are those among the Tibetan community who don’t seem to understand what Bharat Mata has given them.

    Where else have you seen the government grant such large amounts of land for free for such a long time to any of the people’s within India? It is unheard of, yet they did it for the Tibetans from the time of Prime Minister Nehru, and the government has honored this agreement until now, because the Mahatma His Holiness the Dalai Lama is still arrive. When the day comes when the light of compassion is temporarily no longer with us in physical form, which I prayer is a hundred years from now, will the government still honor this? What have the Tibetans done to solidify their stay in India? Have they even thought of what will happen to them 30 years down the line?

    This article raises many good, and leads to many questions. Why is that the CTA has not been able to look after their people well…they are freeloaders leaching off their own people, that’s why.

  5. Do the Tibetans realise that they’re living in a world that’s increasingly disinterested in their cause? Supporting their cause doesn’t benefit anybody. Sure, it soothes your conscience to do so but since when has your conscience ever paid your bills? Keep pushing India and see what they do. Troublemakers, the lot of them, suing the Indian government. How would you like it if the Indian government suddenly rescinds their 99-year lease on your land and you have nowhere to go? You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be appreciating Indian citizenship and an Indian passport then! Get with the program Lobsang Sangye. Beggars can’t be choosers and everybody sees through the emptiness of your baselessly arrogant swagger.

  6. “While the Tibetan people welcome the move by the Indian government to grant Indian passports and hence citizenship to those who qualify, they are strangely offended by the conditions imposed. In essence, once a Tibetan is granted an Indian passport he can no longer retain his Tibetan identity documents which comes with some entitlements such as being able to live in the Tibetan settlements. This has led some Tibetans such as Lobsang Wangyal of the Tibet Sun to voice their discontent.”

    Of course those greedy lazy Tibetans are going to voice out their discontent… that is really all they are good for sorry to say this. But what have these Tibetans ever given back to India? To India’s economy and you can forget about security? They create more problems for India, especially making is more difficult for them to have a good relationship with China. All they do is all oil into the fire. So what is this ungrateful slacker has to say? You get to finally have a passport and travel and move on with life still want to complain???

    He better listen and read some of the wiser comments mentioned in his article. Many are telling him to shut up before they are all kicked out! TRUE. There is nothing stopping India from taking back all their land including the refuge settlements and ask all Tibetans to go back to China if they wanted to and cut deals, which they already have, with China to bring India’s economy up and to prosper together. Nothing is stopping India from doing this except their respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama which is slowly becoming secondary as other bigger issues needs to be addressed for the future of India.

    So if I was a Tibetan… just follow the rules and good will India has given and bloody well grab the passport and live in a free democratic country with a real democratic government. CTA is not a real government and their time is running out. They will be finish as soon as HHDL is gone, think and see the reality, people are not interested in CTA, if they are it is all because of one man – HHDL. CTA themselves of their own has no weight or standing ground and no world leader/president/PM will or would want to see Sangay… who is he? What on earth does he have to offer? All he ever talks about is his problems and Tibet’s cause. Hello wake up… all world leaders have agreed that Tibet is part of China. So the cause is in China’s hands already. Suck up to the right government if you want things your way. So CTA is really just illusional and Tibetans are in disillusion to think they – CTA is a government. This is the biggest joke and biggest lie ever. Clinging on to something that has long been lost.

    Mr. Lobsang Wangyal better think twice before opening his mouth again which can lead to more problems for the Tibetans. Don’t want passport is fine, then don’t complain you have no country. Gotta stop being such a demanding refuge!

  7. Stop being a demanding and difficult refugee in India is important for Tibetans to learn this. We Indians have given more to the Tibetans than our own people.

  8. When I read the article by Lobsang Wangyal, I believe that he was a bit out of his mind to criticize the Indian government. It is out of the sense of humanity and generosity that the Indian government has provided shelter for the Indian refugee for almost 60 years and now they are giving the opportunity for the refugees to be the naturalized citizen of India. Why do you need to complain about the gift from your host country instead of showing gratitude to them?

    I believe Tibetans like Lobsang Wangyal should stop thinking only of themselves and what can they get, and instead start thinking about how they can give back and show gratitude to the many people who have helped them so far.

  9. Wow! It’s about time that the Tibetan people express themselves and its great that they are truly expressing how they feel. From the article and comments below, you get a sense that many Tibetans had enough of CTA’s empty promises and they just want to secure their own future.

    They just want to be sure that when the Dalai Lama is not around and/or when the Tibetan lease is over, they would still have a home. The passport issue is just an expression of their wish for security. All that ds.com has talked about is expressed here, showing that the sentiment expressed about the future of Tibetans in India is really what the average Tibetans think and feel.

    I know I am not Tibetan but I have Tibetan friends and they all agree with the sentiment shared here and are struggling either to get their Indian passport or trying to find the money to get to the United States. It’s just too bad because the Tibetan leadership is not doing enough to reassure Tibetans, restart dialogue with China and are using various distractions like the Dorje Shugden as a scapegoat. It’s just too bad.

  10. Tibetans are ridiculous. On what planet do people remain as refugees and enjoy the benefits of being a refugee while demanding citizenship and a passport of another country?

    What government would continue to extend refugee benefits to people who are applying to become citizens? Do the Tibetans think that the Indian government is stupid? It is the Tibetans who are the foolish ones if they continue to behave in this manner.

    It’s simple. If you want the so-called benefits of being a Tibetan refugee, then give up your wish to travel here and there on a convenient Indian passport. If you want the passport and can afford to gallivant all over the world, then obviously you can’t be in such dire straits.

    And don’t get me started on the so called Tibetan leadership or CTA. Get your people in line. If Tibetans continue to make so much trouble, why are you not doing anything? Do you want the Indian government to stop renewing the 99 year lease once it is expired? Do you want the remaining Tibetan refugees to be thrown out of the country once their land is taken away? Do you think the Indian government will kowtow to the demands of a ragtag band of refugees who have only made life worse for the general Indian population?

    Oh wait, I forgot. All you Tibetan leaders are NOT refugees. Are NOT dependent on India for a home. Are NOT subject to the limitations of the Tibetan yellow book. That’s because you all HOLD OTHER CITIZENSHIPS. HOLD OTHER PASSPORTS. Because YOU ARE NOT TIBETAN AT HEART.

    I’ve come to a new conclusion having read this article. I think India is slowly taking steps to remove the Tibetan problem. How?

    -> Reduce the number of people who identify as Tibetan
    Less people subject to the leadership of the CTA means less people stirring up trouble in their country

    -> Reducing the number of refugees.
    As the 99 year lease comes slowly to an end, the Indian government is perhaps preparing to take their land back and to wash their hands of the Tibetan refugee problem

    -> Preparing for the Dalai Lama’s passing
    In 1959, it was attractive to host Tibetan refugees because of the allure of the Dalai Lama. Now, with the aging Dalai Lama and with no politically-attractive successor in sight PLUS with the emergence of China as a global superpower, India would be smart to reconsider the wisdom of continuing to host the biggest thorn in China’s side.

    -> To end the Free Tibet fiasco
    Let’s face it – Free Tibet has gotten nowhere and the CTA is doing as much human rights abuses as they accuse China of. Fewer Tibetans mean fewer human rights abuses right under India’s nose.

    -> To end the CTA
    What country, in exile or not, would allow their leaders to hold other nationalities? Why do Tibetans allow their leaders to (1) hold other nationalities (2) pocket the Free Tibet donations (3) travel all over the world while they themselves languish in the refugee settlements without travel permits and without societal advancements?

    Let’s face it. The CTA itself is a sham and India continues to allow them to exist precisely because they have no effect and no real standing.

    I think all Tibetans should apply for Indian passports, enjoy the benefits of real citizenship, and end the mockery of a government called the CTA.

  11. Our people expect too much. Refugee n citizen does not go together in same sentence n gratitude is a word that is become absent from our vocabulary. We are gratitude to His Holiness because he has saved our Tibet dream but we must also gratitude to India for giving us home. Dhasa has forgotten to teach our people of this.

  12. As a longtime supporter of the Tibetan movement, I read this with much distress. While I have not lost faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama to lead his people out of the dark times, I cannot say the same for the leadership that surrounds him. Over the years, I have witnessed an erosion of the values that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has worked so hard to permeate through his peoples. What has happened to the Tibetan community that such a gentle, spiritual community of people can now think that it is logical, fair and just to show such deep ingratitude towards the Indian government?

    I do not agree that the Tibetans should take up Indian citizenship, yet I find myself torn at the prospect of the Tibetans continuing to live in such limited circumstances. Limited not by ability, motivation or passion, or even by the Indian government, but limited by the Tibetan leadership’s insistence that their people never rise above ‘refugee’ status. And yet, all of this would be much easier to stomach if the leadership reflected the struggles of their people but I see no signs of this.

    And so with all of this in mind, one can hardly blame interested Tibetans in giving up their Tibetan identity cards in favour of a better life. The choices, to me, are a stark and obvious one: flounder and drift through life as a hapless refugee, or return to Tibet where the Chinese are reportedly providing better opportunities to become financially solvent, or stay in India and take up Indian citizenship to be around to keep fighting the good fight.

    BHO GYALO.

  13. India does not need to give passport to Tibetans, I do think Tibetans should take it as a gesture of kindness from the Indians.

    it is an open invitation to be a citizen of a global power, that is India. India is under no obligation to issue out citizenship to the Tibetans. So now Tibetans has one more choice.

    Choice no 1. Stay as they are in the settlements and watch how CTA milks them dry and uses them to further their personal goals.

    2. Become a citizen of India and enjoy the benefits of how Indian people can live within the borders of India and enjoy all the rights as an Indian citizen. Indian people who have skills go all over the world.

    3. Return to China, where there is growth and development and possibly a better life Being part of China the top economy in the world can’t be all that bad.

  14. After reading the bare facts of the situation of the Tibetans in exile, the truth that prevails is there is a generation lost. As a child who left tibet till now, the child would be an adult of 60 years and below.

    What has happened to your life? Still living in the lost hope of CTA and the Dalai Lama will regain Tibet and free Tibet. What lies behind these promises are empty and results show that to be true.

    The magnanimity of India to have granted Tibetans “refugee” land to use and many other forms of facilities must come to an end. Yet magnanimously India is now offering Tibetans citizenship with a valid passport.

    Tibetans who had relied on broken promises to come real, are oblivious to the fact that CTA had done nothing for them. Have they then on their own accord got assimilated to their host country. If not, then Tibetans in exile is following the bad examples of their leaders to be reliant on handouts.

    No doubt, very little had been done by CTA for the lot to improve their mindset and be independent and self funding. Looking at the situation why should CTA do that as the Tibetans are their tool to obtain sponsors and to enrich themselves.

    Wake up time, be grateful and stand up for yourselves so that not another generation is lost again. Have regrets for the stagnation and non progress inflicted on you and do what is right.

    The only sad point is whether Tibetans in exile who become Indian citizens can still later return to Tibet and be Chinese nationals and enjoy the progress that China is doing to upgrade Tibet.

  15. This article is very honest. For almost 60 years, India has been kind to Tibetan in exile and CTA. India has given lands, and provide a place Tibetans can call home. Tibetan Buddhism get to expand from Tibet to India and to the world because of the kindness of India.

    This almost 60 years of kindness towards Tibetan in exile, unfortunately didn’t create a generation of Tibetans who are grateful. Instead, it has groom a bunch of Tibetans who not only unappreciative, they are lazy and only depends on the handouts from others.

    CTA goes around the world asking countries to support their cause, but never think about the consequences the other countries need to face. China has many big corporations have already setup many factories in India, and have provided so many job opportunities to India. When CTA blams India for not doing their part in protecting the Tibetan interests, does CTA know how much is at risk? Did CTA ask themselves, what have they done for India?

    CTA need to ask themselves, how do other countries benefit from helping Tibetan? Did CTA even consider repay other people’s kindness for helping them? USA has given so much donations and handouts to CTA, but what have CTA and Tibetan done for USA? Now the Trump administration wants to cut the aid to Tibet, and Richard Gere is heading a task force trying to revert that. But did Richard Gere ask the CTA, what have CTA done for USA? What is CTA’s contribution after getting handout for 60 years? How did CTA spend the donations they received?

    It is wake up time for CTA. Or is it too late for CTA now?

  16. The time has come, and it is inevitable that sooner or later all Tibetans in exile in India will become Indian citizens, and with that, the Tibet cause is lost forever. The Dalai Lama once told the Tibetans in exile in the 90s that Nechung oracle took trance and proclaimed that everyone in exile will be going back to Tibet soon, and this caused an euphoria but it was short lived, because in the end it did not happen. Nechung was wrong, and Dalai Lama was wrong in believing in Nechung’s words. Since then, Tibetans in exile started to lose trust in the Dalai Lama, not to mention the exiled government, but of course nobody dared to voice that out, because it is a blasphemy to doubt the Dalai Lama, but everyone then realized that Dalai Lama’s words did not come true. So Tibetans in exile started to lose hope gradually and were not hoping much for the prospect of going back to Tibet, as being refugees, they did not know what to do, and their government could care less. So once India starts to execute seriously that Tibetans in exile now can obtain an Indian passport, most the them are more than happy to do so, they have already lost hope in Dalai Lama and the government since the incident in the 90s. This is their tickets to get out of poverty and to gain dignity as a legally residing citizen of a country. The Dalai Lama had failed his people, so did the exiled government. The Tibetans in exile are going into history starting now.

  17. It is clear that after 60 years the Tibetans need a solution. The Tibetan settlements in India have been very kindly offered to the Tibetans but what did the CTA do with this opportunity for their citizens? Instead of moving on with their life, they are not allowed to live a normal life. What future do they have in the settlements?

    It is very kind to give the Tibetans the opportunity to get an Indian passport. The other way would be to return to China as many have gone back already or to move to another country, which will be very expensive.

    Funds for the CTA will run out sooner or later as China has become an important partner for many countries all over the world and times are difficult. Also, most governments will stop their support to the CTA as no progress has been made and what has happened to the money? Was it used for the Tibetans and their cause?

    After all those years there is no hope to get a free Tibet and the Dalai Lama’s Umaylam position should be followed and friendship be made with Tibet. That would sound logical to me…

  18. After years of leeching onto other countries for funds, it is time now that they learn their lesson. Tibetans have been consistent in fighting extremely hard and long enough in attempt to free Tibet, but honestly speaking, we all know that this is never going to happen. Tibet has all the natural resources and minerals which makes it one of the main reasons why China won’t let them go. China is way too influential and powerful. I sometimes do think that Tibet will workout better under China rather than on its own, I mean look at Tibet now, for decades they have been fighting non stop, now some of them have realised that fighting and protesting is not the way therefore since they can’t really change Tibet, then they are left to only one method, which is to free themselves. I don’t see what’s wrong with that, if your own country’s leader can’t even provide you the basic necessities, then what’s the point for fighting for the free Tibet cause at all?

  19. This is obviously CTA is going beyond limits on India’s goodwill. CTA did not recompensed, even neglect and irresponsible for their people living status and welfare. Due to CTA negligence, many Tibetan refugees turn out to be victims of crimes in India which causing their people insecure and have lost trust on them. This is partly reason Tibetan refugees want to obtained a citizenship, in the purposed of protection and security for themselves and their lives rather than seek help from the so-called “leadership!” No matter what CTA trying to do, it’s completely impotent.

  20. This is a well researched and presented opinion piece. Thank you. I wonder why only when a Tibetan get an Indian passport he/she is betraying Tibetans and HH Dalai Lama?

    Living in a country as a citizen, like an Englishman migrating/living in US, Indian living in UK, Chinese living in Canada…is that means they giving up their identity as an Englishman/Indian/Chinese? I do not think so. The cultural part of yourself is not going to lose just because you are living in a foreign country. Yes, you are going to lead a multicultural and harmonious way of living if you are not living in your own country. But that’s the trend and essential for this era’s ppl living in another country to learn something good of another culture or another race. To learn from another, to live in foreign land, to speak a foreign language, does not make you less Tibetan/English/Indian.

    To live in lies, illusion and dreams never would come true built by Tibetan leadership for so many decades and counting, for sure making you live as a person without state, without identity and dignity on this planet.

    To have India government offers Indian passport to Tibetan refugees in India may have strategic or political purposes from the side of India, may be China; however, Tibetans lose less, or do not lose anything, because many of the Tibetans refugees in India almost have nothing…What have CTA given to them? High quality of life? Good job? Tibetan culture being well maintained? Better education for the younger generation? A proud refugee whom waiting for decades to go back to their dream motherland? 99% of the Tibetans in India have nothing, given nothing by Tibetan leaderships apart from tons of lies and fake visions.

    In the case of Indian passport, the one who FEAR most is not suppose to be Tibetan lay persons, but CTA.

  21. Why does CTA Tibetan exiled government officials have two passports? Why they can have and no one else can? How come Indian government keep silent about that?

  22. Amazing how some people think that they can demand and get whatever they want as a refugee. Always thinking that everyone owe them coz they have the rights. But, what have you contributed to earn the rights and demand people to respect that? On top of that, no gratitude for the hands that are feeding you.

    India have been so kind and generous for the past 60 years, providing a place to stay and letting you have your own ‘government’, who, by the way should have thought of what was coming and plan what they should do when the time comes. Instead of finding solutions and helping the Tibetans, what have they been really doing? Spent their time finding their own way out of India instead?

    Since when people are entitled to be a citizen and enjoy the benefits of a refugee at the same time? What government would give you the benefits of being both? At least as a citizen, one is free to go anywhere without being controlled by CTA, recognised by other countries, earn a salary, buy property, etc, like any other citizens. As a refugee, you don’t belong anywhere and just stuck in the middle.

    In time, it makes one wonder what will happen to CTA in the future? Since the years of lease is coming so close to ending, I wonder if they will be recognised at all by any countries as a ‘government’ once its over.

    Dear Tibetans, it will be time to choose sooner or later, might as well plan and think now before its too late. If the CTA wanted to do something for you, they would have done it or said something by now to reassure you, your future.

  23. Get Indian passport and become homeless for a second time?

    Is that a jokes from CTA? Why CTA did that? Funny…. huh…
    Have no idea Indian government keep silent on it?

  24. In the articles it mentioned that if the Tibetan seek for Indian citizenship they will be consider as traitor. This is really an unfair claim as what has CTA done in the past 60 years to look after the Tibetan welfare and how has CTA effectively unite Tibetan towards harmony and peace?

    It has been a long 60 years and what we are hearing is how CTA discriminate their people due to different belief in their protector practice, spend up for materials to promote the ban of their people different belief, promote violent for people that have different opinion and spiritual belief. How can CTA gain the confident from Tibetan to believe they are able to look after them?

    How can the leaders of CTA hold foreign passports and citizenships but in the other hand leading the Tibetan for freedom? When their leaders already forego their country but wearing a big mask to talk about Tibetan freedom it sound so wrong and they are not qualify at all to stand in front of the Tibetan to even call themselves as Tibetan. This double standard doesn’t show any great example to the people at all but just showing that they are in some other interest in the leadership.

    The guilt tactic by CTA can no longer work for the Tibetan as I believe they had enough and able to see the real picture of CTA and at the same time considering their future.

  25. It’s been decades and still no headway on the Tibetan cause yet the CTA is still wasting time and resources over what would have been. Much could have been done for Tibetans in improving their lives instead of hoping for something that would not happen. If it would, it would have happened decades ago.

    The modern educated Tibetan youths should influence their parents over this matter for the betterment of their people as a whole. Apply to be naturalised citizens of India, and live a real democratic life unlike what CTA promised but did not deliver. Maybe some culture, tradition and custom may be diluted and eventually be lost, maybe not. But it may be better than to be ruled by an undemocratic government that claims to be democratic where questions from Tibetan youths are frowned upon when the questions were related to spirituality and on human rights. For example, the facial expressions on the face of Lobsang Sangay when he was asked relating to the ban on Dorje Shugden’s practice that led to the unfair and inhumane treatment received by Tibetan school children; to the segregation of Tibetans and their families, loved ones, and among the sangha community and the split of monasteries. All these are caused by the ban that the Dalai Lama imposed of which he now says it’s not a ban but an advice

  26. It is true that for over decades that CTA didn’t do anything for their people. Not only that, they do the opposite way, implementing, creating rules and bans that separate their own people apart. Tibetan in exile,could have already given up hope on their leadership who once gave them sky high hope. As for the young generation who was born in India, they don’t have any imprint or impression about Tibet, and they have access to the internet, they know what is happening. To them, as long as can get a citizenship doesn’t matter where, is good enough. At least they don’t have to be refugees anymore. What more to say, in their case, is “made” refugees”?
    As for India, I was told that everything a politician does, must have a motive behind. So, what is India’s motive here? Could it be, since India saw that even USA also pull back their funding to CTA, maybe they also want to stop supporting Tibetan in exile, but they can’t do it too sudden and too harsh, as India had made a promise earlier to protect Tibetan in exile. Plus, some of the Tibetan in exile are wealthier than the local India. So, rather than telling CTA directly they want to stop supporting them, they might as well offer them citizenship, so that those who wants to be citizen, need to pay tax. If many Tibetan become Indian citizen, then there will be no need for CTA anymore. In that case, India can be said is successfully chase them out from their land. This is just my personal assumption, it could be true, but only India knows what is the real reason.
    No matter how it will be, all doesn’t seem positive to CTA. It seems CTA days are counting. And yet, the leadership is keeping quiet hoping that it will not expose. When the day comes, I can’t imagine how Lobsang Sangay’s face would be. But, no matter what is going to happen, hope they lift the Dorje Shugden ban the soonest, before everything happens.

  27. It is understandable to see Tibetans to really giving up as being Tibetans and OPT for a new greener pasture for most are actually born outside of Tibet and many never felt Tibet is their home anyways since their parents fled Tibet 60 years ago. They either choose India for familiarity or actually “returning” to the current China ruled Tibet for survival reasons. Well situations are not very good in India isnt it and I wouldn’t want to make similar choice too if given a chance. Had the “governing body for Tibetans are doing better job of preserving and helping its own people, many would not want to ditch Tibetan refugee status. As a matter of fact, I see CTA has left it’s people in a limbo thinking what can they do now to survive and move on like every other normal human being ditching status as a refugee.

  28. If Tibetan in Exile moving forward to get the Indian citizenship, it may benefit themselves more after nearly 60 years as stateless refugees . Most the benefits has mentioned in this article. However, this will be a threat to how some may perceive the CTA legitimacy, and how is CTA can be operated with the downsize of refugees. This may cause CTA not to even exist in the future. However, CTA has not showing they are worry about this at this moment, I think this is because it wasn’t so easy to get the India citizenship. Please let me know if I am wrong of my view.

  29. Being a refugee, they have their benefits, and being a citizen, they have another set of benefits for being a citizen. We know very well there is no perfection in this world, nothing is perfect, so it’s up to us to choose the one that suit us best and not to let our greediness set in. Instead of fighting for more benefit from the government, why not we spend the same effort to teach the tibetans and guide them for a better living with own effort and not just take.

    60 over years, India government has given a piece of almost 3000 acres of land to the Tibetans so that they have a place to stay and make a living, a place for them to call home, but have they appreciated? But whether they happy or not, there is only 30+ years left, sooner or later, they have to pick, going back Tibet to be a China citizen or stay in India as Indian citizen. They have no place to go.

    CTA is really pitiful, at first, they have been attacking Dorje Shugden practitioners and calling them as a traitor, now the Tibetans who wanted to become Indian citizen are being called traitor too, when CTA operate like this, very soon everyone will be traitor to them, because they cant retain them. CTA has lied to their people for over 60 years, imagine how many people trusted their leader, how many people brought their trust with them to the cemetery still believing their leader will bring them back to Tibet? how many of them started with great hope until they lose hope and escape from the settlement? how inefficient and corrupted the Tibetan government is but yet, they know only putting blame to others, when only CTA was left alone, they wont have anywhere to go. When no more citizens, the leader will retired, until that time, there’s no more CTA.

  30. After long waiting for the free tibet, tibetan refugee has lost hope of CTA gorvernment leading and some of the refugee take the offer become Indian citizenship. Over 60 year, the young generation of refugee has lost their desire return back to Tibet compaire the old generation of refugee whose are devoted to H.Holiness Dalai Lama.
    Is the shame of CTA even treatan their own refugee apply citizenship and call them traitor. Who are the real traitor here? It would not cover how CTA has fail their duty to take care tibetan refugee.

  31. I think Tibetans should act fast if they wish to improve their living. How much suffers do they need to absorb just for the sake of wanting to have a normal life like the others, to be free from political, free from discrimination, have real freedom and more!

    Delay no more, my friends, be wise. May Buddhas be at your sides.

  32. I don’t think Tibetan refugees living in India have much choice at this point !!
    The land they are residing in with their families were leased to them by the Indian government for 99 years, and 60 years have passed by, leaving them less then 40 years only.
    Most of the first generations of Tibetan refugees who came over to India in the late ’50s may have already passed on. Their children and grandchildren, likely born in India, have to look seriously into their predicaments. They cannot go on living on land that they don’t own and risk being evicted. The Indian government has been very kind and generous for many decades and cannot be expected to continue to do so for many reasons, be it pressure from China or their own people.
    The Tibetan refugees HAVE TO start making REAL PLANS FOR their future now. They should not procrastinate and hope for the impossible ! They have waited and hoped for 60years and nothing positive have changed in their lives – do they think another 40 years of waiting will make any difference to their stateless status ???

    WAKE UP AND MOVE ON !! All the politicking and controversy created to divert attention away from their failures and weaknesses will not help to mar the TRUTH ! TIBETANS WILL NEVER CLAIM BACK TIBET SO STOP BELIEVING IN THOSE WHO LIE AND DECEIVE ! ACCEPT AND MOVE ON HARMONIOUSLY ! THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN IS IN YOUR HANDS ! DO NOT LET THE GREED AND EVIL DESTROY IT !!

  33. I think the Tibetans-in-exiled are in a dilemma. Questions running all over their heads to whether to go back to Tibet but Tibet now is under China. But if they stay on in India, they only 30 plus years to go. And if they surrender their refugees status and opt for an Indian passport they will become homeless. What a messed up situation that they in now and the CTA is doing nothing as usual to help their own people. So many have suffered because of this situation. Doesn’t the CTA ever feel sorry or bad to their people. Their keeping quiet and doing nothing action is telling their people that they don’t care. The CTA is being selfish. The Tibetans need to wake up now and stop hoping that CTA will help them. They themselves have to make the right decisions for themselves else they will continue to suffer.

  34. This is a clear proof of the failure of the Tibetan Leadership who choose to chicken out and kept quiet about the change. It is a clear sign that they have no cause to fight for and has never been. Whatever big hoo-ha they have been making is just a tactic for procrastination in order for them to make big money for themselves.

    How many people actually lost their own country but Tibetans in present history. Even the poorest country get to rule their own country but Tibet. What does this tell everyone about the intelligent level of the Tibetan Leadership?

    Tibetans now opt to get other countries’ citizenships or back to Chinese rule Tibet because they have finally realized that they will end up nowhere in the next 30 years or more. Looking back what they have achieved in the last 60 years, I do not think this is unreasonable and illogical to say at all!

    The Tibetan Leadership is a group of selfish and greedy people who live off the Dalai Lama’s fame and the donations that come with it. They have been playing the victim card and as a thorn to the Chinese through US and India which in return earn them sumptuous lifestyle effortlessly while neglecting the Tibetans-in-exile’s rights and basic needs.

    I support fully that fellow Tibetans apply for the Indian and other passports and move on with their life with dignity and full control of their own future. Do not wait for your useless leadership who themselves hold few citizenships and well prepared to leave all of you when the leadership falls apart eventually!

  35. Didn’t the Indian government offer the refugees citizenship many years ago, with the CTA refusing the offer? They didn’t consult the Tibetan’s then, because it didn’t serve their interests to lose any of them.

  36. @Khechog, You are right. The CTA did refuse citizenship of India because they were over-confident that the 1billion China nation will kowtow to the 150,000 Tibetans in Exile.Very silly. Now they regret and look stupid.

  37. Dorje shugden issue is a distraction to hide dalai lamas’ failure in India. There is a huge discrimination between old settlement Tibetans “shichak” and new arrivals ” sarjor”. Shichak camp treat sarjors like negros. 90% of the staff in CTA are shichak. But he never tackled the issue because he will lose support from shichak majority. I am a Tibetan from tcv school. I am telling you lukar Jam was kicked out partly because he was sarjor or new arriver from Tibet. I was disgusted.

  38. dorjee shugden has a bad image thanks to dalai lama’s campaign. but looking at the journalism and accompanying comments, this website could be like http://www.tibetsun.com where young, open-minded tibetans can visit. however, this shugden site needs to convince the tibetan public by accepting articles and comments from both pro-shugden and anti-shugdhen people. Right now, young independent tibetans have no platform to express their views honestly because most newspapers don’t publish anything that criticizes dalai lama or samdhong rinpoche or CTA

  39. @Tenzin what you said is very true and I couldn’t agree with you more. Dorje Shugden is used as a scape goat so that the failures to deliver what was promise – Dalai Lama supposed to return to China many moons ago, and all that big talk can be forgotten. How can it be, how can someone like the Dalai Lama make such a big promise and it did not come true? It is huge especially when the entire Tibetan population in exile and in China is eagerly waiting for it.

    It would leave so many to question the Tibetan leadership’s authenticity. It probably has but just no one dares to say anything? So of course, someone needs to take the blame, and who better to take the blame than a deity, and they just need to re-write the history and use small incidences like the murder of 2 Tibetans and blame everything else to Shugden practitioners. They just need to hype it up and make nothing into something. It was as simple as that. So from then on, everyone who is a Shugden practitioner is considered violent/murderer/demon worshippers etc. etc. It is easy because the not educated followers would just buy into it.

    “There is a huge discrimination between old settlement Tibetans “shichak” and new arrivals ” sarjor”. Shichak camp treat sarjors like negros. 90% of the staff in CTA are shichak. But he never tackled the issue because he will lose support from shichak majority. I am a Tibetan from tcv school. I am telling you lukar Jam was kicked out partly because he was sarjor or new arriver from Tibet. I was disgusted.”

    Wow! Thank you for letting us here know about this, I had no idea and this is something new we can all learn here about “chichak” and “sarjor”… so there is some kind of discrimination even within ethnic groups. This is amazing, all along I just thought everyone is the same. I never knew this and so now it makes sense why Lukar is being oppressed by the CTA. Thank you for sharing this. Hope you share more and give more voice to your people so the world can hear the other side of the story.

    The injustice and the “fake” democratic Tibetan leadership must be exposed so that there can be a positive change. It seems that all CTA wants is the Western dollars for themselves, but what do they do for their own people? On top of that, they suppress and discriminate them? Amazing. And the world thinks of them as “helpless noble, compassionate refugee leaders”? What a scam. The more we find out, the more we see CTA’s true ugly colours. This is clearly a government that is not for the people at all. Please do write more. Appreciate your input!

  40. This is the only website existing today that actually exposes the corruption of the CTA and their human rights abuses. While they parade around in the west looking all like poor refugees and downtrodden, actually they abuse their own people within India. Any publications or media that criticizes them, they will intimidate and shut down like Jamyang Norbu’s works in Dharamsala. No one else dares to speak up for there will be repercussions to them or their families back in India. This is the dark side of CTA aka Tibetan leadership few know about. But we Tibetans who have immigrated out of India know this and therefore we have left. My parents speak about the corruption that is rife in Dharamsala and that is why they took us to UK when we were very young. We will never move back to Tibet and have no interest in living in Tibet because we are so disconnected to Tibet. Tibet is part of China and will remain that way. CTA has failed and continue to fail. They lost our country in the first place.

  41. हाम टिबेटेन ईन्डिया मे रेनेवला कि लिये ईन्डिया क citizens मिल्नेसे कोहि tibetan identity नहि गुमेगा because tibetan are not only leaving in india सभी देशमे हे except africa but most of people have a citizen जाहभी रहे जेसेभी रहे हामर दिल tibetan हे हम मर्ते दामताक free tibet कि लियो लर्न नहि छोरेङ्गे

  42. Tibetans have been squatting in India for the last 60 years. What has CTA done for them? Instead of moving closer to home, CTA’s strategies are moving them farther away from home.

    With a Tibetan citizenship, they have a government-in-exile that openly supports discrimination against a group of people who are of different believes (particularly Shugden practitioners). They are still living in a foreign country after 60 years of empty promises. Their spiritual leader is also living in India, not Tibet. And what rights and benefits have Tibetans enjoyed besides the “poor Tibetan refugees” status?

    I think India is actually doing Tibetans a favour by this citizenship ruling. With an Indian citizenship, at least, they belong and actually live in a country that they were born in. They are no longer refugees and can enjoy rights of offered by the Indian government.

  43. Stop demanding and start contributing…!!

  44. CTA should focus in improving the Tibetans’ life, welfare and their benefits instead of shifting their focus to banning the practice of DS by commenting that DS will harm their citizens. DS is an enlightened protector and how can an enlightened protector harming a person? This is really uncalled for.

  45. By siding with the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, what does anyone get? Of course India will not side with Tibetans in the end. Better to side with China. What does India get from the ungrateful Tibetans. What does Tibetans contribute back to India? They slap India in the face as all of them want to immigrate to the west which is saying India is not good enough for them. Now they demand Indian passports for ease of travel. Ridiculous. Kick out the Tibetans and send them back to Tibet!

  46. I love my India.

    Tibetans go back to Tibet. Stop making trouble for our relationship with China. You have been in our country long enough. Now you are not welcome anymore. You reject being Indian. You want to be Tibetan, then go to Tibet. Stop fighting your war on Indian soil.

  47. Tibetans always make trouble wherever they live. They will not live quietly and appreciate the bigger economic goals of their host country. Many countries have a economic need to be friends with China as the cold war with China is thawing out. But Tibetans will never understand this. The needs of the 6 million Tibetans to them outweigh the needs of the rest of the 7 billion persons on this planet.

    Tibetans are always trying to immigrate to the west which means they don’t appreciate India and India is not good enough for them. India should not give them citizenship and send them back to China.

  48. Fair and honest assessment of the situation of Tibetans refugees in India. Some of the Tibetans are aware of the hospitality from India and realize that they should not take it for granted as the India government can retrieve it anytime. However, there are some who seemed to view their refugee rights in India are part of their entitlement, and should they consider to take on the Indian citizenship, it is not a privilege but a downgrade. Therefore, they would want to keep their refugee status.

    It could be possible that the sentiment is purely out of the nationalistic love for Tibet, but it is hard not to appear “demanding.” Because there is nowhere else in the world, where the government openly grant citizenship and allow to keep the refugee status at the same time. It defeats the purpose of citizenship in the first place. Isn’t it infidelity?

    So, Tibetans in exile under the CTA leadership as a whole must decide whether it is taking up the offer of Indian citizenship or remain as refugees. Of course, based on the modus operandi of CTA, they would prefer the people remain powerless, not to travel, stuck deep in poverty and has no access to education and opportunity to progress. In this way, the CTA can continue to get hands out, fund & donation.

    Will the Tibetans in exile be willing to continue be the tool to enrich just a few CTA elite members? If this is the choice, they can remain as is without doing anything.

    Or is it time to spare a thought for their future and take up the privilege to be an Indian citizen? Is this is the choice, they should start taking action today!

  49. Please look at this clear video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama asking the monasteries to expel monks that practice Dorje Shugden. Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTgYWidYw3U

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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