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 [email protected].

 


 

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. Member of Parliament Tenpa Yarphel is a hero. He is speaking up for free speech and freedom of expression. He is exercising his rights, he is standing up for logical democracy which is the only way forward and not having to contact spirits like Nechung via oracles to make decisions that impact people’s lives. But look how people speak about him in the comments, so rude and nasty. It really represents the Dalai Lama badly as they are supporting Dalai Lama beings so rude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if2dFMKIr_8

    They say we need to believe in Nechung and follow what he says. But in 2009 Nechung said the Dalai Lama would go back to Tibet and that everyone would be happy. A monk from Nechung Monastery is the one that told everyone about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIDZLzXIgW8. But Nechung was wrong. It has been eight years and this has not happened. The Dalai Lama did not return to Tibet. Nechung being consulted by Tibetan government in exile is backwards. No governments do this in the civilized world.

    When people like Tenpa Yarphel speak up and are real patriots of the Tibetan people, they are attacked by other people. In fact people even protest like this man who shaves his hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M30NL4hG8oA. People like these are actually protesting against Tenpa Yarphel’s democratic rights and freedom of speech. Tibetans by criticizing Tenpa Yarphel shows they are far from democracy. Besides many of the other Kagyu leaders such as Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche, Drukchen Rinpoche, Karmapa Thaye Dorje all did not say anything against Tenpa Yarphel that represents the Kagyus.

    Dalai Lama had said that is his minister of cabinet in the government. Even though it is clear that Nechung is unreliable and a spirit, the Dalai Lama continues to rely heavily on Nechung and other oracles who take trance of spirits. He invites Nechung to all his events and allow him to take trance in centre stage always. In fact the Dalai Lama even calls the oracles to his own private bedroom: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x62ocw1.

    These practices show how Tibetan government is run.

  2. Within the Tibetan communities in India, there is no free speech and how Tibetans insult each other and would even insult foreigners by calling them Chinese agents just because you speak up and this is suppose to silence you. All of this began with the Tibetan CTA. Nonetheless, there are a handful of Tibetans who had enough and they dare to speak the truth and in this case, Tenpa Yarphel speaks against Nechung and veiled statements about the Shugden ban – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuKOjcpLH8A
    And then there are people who would oppose his view by shaving his head. Very silly.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M30NL4hG8oA

  3. Lobsang Sangay at the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Tibetan Settlement Office, in Dharamsala: https://youtu.be/eInTi-E9na8

    Losang Sangay said recently (October, 2017) in Dharamsala that Tibetans have two enemies: the outer and inner enemy. The outer enemy is the Chinese government and Dorje Shugden people. The inner enemy is the people who speak against about our Tibetan affairs like regional differences and religious differences. (He didn’t say this directly but he means people like Tenpa Yarphel who spoke up in the Parliament) He said out of the two enemies, the worse one is the inner enemy.

    Now the Tibetans have started a new Facebook page specifically against Tenpa Yarphel. Tibetans are protesting against him: http://bit.ly/2ysowTH

    And there is a video of Tibetans with Tenpa Yarphel’s name on the paper against him and asking him to resign: http://bit.ly/2zAH2af

  4. They are their worst enemies, The real enemy is their greed. Keep the common Tibetan greedy too, to be reliant on handouts, the so-called benefits instead of empowering them to move forward, find their own personal independence and start anew. The CTA are doing it themselves, having dual citizenship but denying even the benefits of an Indian passport to the common folks.

  5. What is the CTA for a club? Going around pretending to be a democracy and only because of HH Dalai Lama they can make some foreign people believe it but it seems that karma is coming back.

    The CTA is suppressing its own people and is having a good life with the money originally meant for the Tibetan people. On top, their elections are a farce!

    Listen here to Tenpa Yarphel who questions about the reliance of the Tibetan Government to Nechung, an oracle, which is understandable already but on top Nechung’s predictions seem to create more problems than anything else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuKOjcpLH8A

    What happens to Tenpa Yarphel now that he speaks up? Tibetans have started a Facebook page against him and protest against him: http://bit.ly/2ysowTH. They even ask Tenpa Yarphel to resign: http://bit.ly/2zAH2af

    So much for the “Democracy” in the Tibetan Government!!

  6. Nechung is ZUMA 👎 before I m think he is one of d best when I m watch dis video By Geshe Dorjee la but now I m think is not d truth n he is lie to Tibet people we r not back to Tibet yt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIDZLzXIgW8 Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if2dFMKIr_8 n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

  7. This was how China received President Trump

    https://youtu.be/Na3lcejmqZ4

    On the other hand, how President Trump would have reacted to the CTA reception is a big question mark

    7b44bf47-5640-4d0a-80ad-ef457a048c58

  8. WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN SANGAY AND SHARLING

    8010626a-c9e5-4c27-bd97-24d4195257df

  9. An increasing number of countries in the world are choosing to align themselves with China and establish good relationships, the latest being the Central American country of Panama. With the promise of Chinese business, investments and infrastructure projects, world leaders will not be hesitant when it comes to starting positive relationships with China. The choice is obvious when the benefits are so many.

    Panama shift to China

  10. In Nepal, the former Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba may soon be ousted as party chief and one of the reasons being cited is his sharing of the stage with Lobsang Sangay i.e. he supports the CTA and Tibetans. This follows the recent example of India, whose Foreign Secretary issued a directive stating all Indian officials should not attend CTA-hosted events in conjunction with their “Thank You India” campaign. After the Dalai Lama’s most recent trip to Mongolia, the backlash against the Mongolian President was so strong, he was forced to ban the Dalai Lama from Mongolia.

    Never mind China sanctioning them, or expressing displeasure on an international level. What these politicians are facing even domestically are internal sanctions for expressing support for the CTA. The message is clear and that is, it is bad news to be seen with the CTA.

    If politicians are being discouraged on all levels from supporting the CTA, it is only a matter of time before the Tibetans find themselves on the very lonely, losing end of their fight against China.

    Singh, Sitaula seek early convention
    congress cwc meeting
    - Post Report, Kathmandu
    Mar 24, 2018-Raising serious questions over Sher Bahadur Deuba’s leadership as the party president, Nepali Congress senior leaders Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Prakash Man Singh have demanded a general convention at the earliest to decide on leadership change.
    Speaking at the Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting that began in the Capital on Friday, both the leaders said the party convention should be held as soon as possible by amending the party statute through a Mahasamiti meeting. The duo also urged Deuba either to amend his working style or step down as the party chief. Deuba was elected the party president in March 2016 and has two years of his tenure remaining.
    Both the leaders heavily criticised several decisions taken by Deuba as party president and as prime minister, stating that he had complete monopoly over decision-making and that his decisions were “unpopular and controversial”.
    Both Singh and Sitaula, who represent two rival factions of the party, blamed then-PM Deuba’s “weak leadership” for the party’s humiliating defeat in the federal and provincial elections held in November-December last year. Singh not only asked Deuba to resign after the poll debacle but also stood against him in the Parliamentary Party election.
    Presenting a written document at the meeting, Singh attributed a weak organisation, ideological and policy ambiguities and inefficient leadership as the major reasons behind the NC’s worst electoral showing ever. He also demanded a meeting of the Mahasamiti to take decisions on the party ideology, policies and programmes and organisational issues.
    With Deuba preparing to appoint office bearers, Singh argued that there was no need for such appointments any more. “The appointments and formation of party departments should have taken place within two months of the general convention,” he said. In his political document, Singh said Deuba committed mistakes on the foreign policy front too.
    Deuba’s participation as the NC president in a programme organised by India Foundation, a think tank close to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in Goa in 2016 where Deuba reportedly shared the stage with Lobsang Sangay, chief of the Dalai Lama’s government in exile, was detrimental to cordial relations with Nepal’s neighbours, according to Singh.
    Senior leader Sitaula also pressed for the general convention to take decisions on leadership change while criticising both Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel for failing to lead the party effectively.
    Arbitrary distribution of election tickets and the lack of financial transparency were other reasons behind the party’s defeat, according to Sitaula. Hinting at Deuba, Sitaula said, “You could capture the party but communist forces are capturing state power.”
    CWC member Narayan Khadka said factional politics must end for the party to get a fresh impetus. “Factional politics must end today if we want to rebuild the party,” he remarked.
    The CWC, called four months after the elections, is expected to set the date for Mahasamiti meeting having reviewed the election results.
    Published: 24-03-2018 07:46
    http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-03-24/singh-sitaula-seek-early-convention.html

    Singh-Sitaula-seek-early-convention1

  11. It pays to make good relations with China. After the Dalai Lama cancelled his visit to Botswana, China responded immediately with encouraging news that bilateral relations with Botswana will progress.

    There is no way to deny China’s economic prowess, and many countries, including India, the host of the exiled Tibetans for the past 60 years know that it is not worth to risk bilateral ties with China for the Tibetan cause. After snubbing the Tibetan leadership and cancellation of key Tibetan events in Delhi recently, India receive the quid pro quo from China of signed commercial deals worth nearly $2.36 billion. Mongolia, who has banned the Dalai Lama from entering the country is now welcomed to carry out cross-border trade with China’s Bohai Commodity Exchange to help Mongolian agricultural products enter the Chinese market. Switzerland was the top recipient of Chinese investment in 2017 with a combined value of US$44.6bn, who since 2015 has automatically reassigned the nationality of Tibetan refugees as Chinese nationals in their residence permits.

    More and more countries have jumped on the bandwagon to reject the Tibetan leadership, including Australia, Bhutan, The Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Sweden, with the Central American country of Panama being the latest addition, and the list is expected to grow. Why would any country want to risk their economic prosperity for a lost cause like that of the Tibetan cause?

    China says ties with Botswana to progress after Dalai Lama cancels visit to African nation
    World IANS Aug 14, 2017 17:45:08 IST
    Beijing: Days after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama cancelled his visit to Botswana, China said its ties with the African country will progress smoothly.
    Beijing said it “attaches great importance” to Botswana where state-run Chinese companies are engaged in infrastructure building.
    Botswana had invited the Dalai Lama to speak at the three-day human rights conference in the capital Gaborone, to which he had confirmed his presence. The event begins on 17 August.
    However, China was angry and warned Botswana against hosting the Dalai Lama, who has been demanding greater autonomy in China’s Tibet.
    On Saturday, the Dalai Lama said he was cancelling his Botswana visit due to “exhaustion”.
    “His Holiness has reluctantly had to concede that his 82-year-old body was telling him to rest,” a statement said.
    Reacting to the development, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama to go to any country to engage in anti-China activities in any capacity or name.
    “China attaches great importance to its friendly cooperation with Botswana. We hope the bilateral relations will move forward steady and sound way,” she said.
    China slams any country that invites or maintains contact with the Dalai Lama who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet. He has lived in India since then.
    Published Date: Aug 14, 2017 17:42 PM | Updated Date: Aug 14, 2017 17:45 PM
    https://www.firstpost.com/world/china-says-ties-with-botswana-to-progress-after-dalai-lama-cancels-visit-to-african-nation-3930425.html

    China says ties with Botswana to progress after Dalai Lama cancels visit to African nation

  12. What will the all the people around the world and in Tibet do now? Dalai Lama says he is happy that Tibet is a part of China and should remain a part of China. So many Tibetans self-immolated for Tibet to be independent and now Dalai Lama did a 360 degree turn and says he wants to go back to Tibet and China and Tibet should be a part of China. So unbelievable. So many are angry and disappointed.

    Tibetans ready to be part of China: Dalai Lama
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    Indo-Asian News Service
    Bengaluru
    Tibetans are ready to be a part of China if guaranteed full rights to preserve their culture, the Dalai Lama said on Friday.
    “Tibetans are not asking for independence. We are okay with remaining with the People’s Republic of China, provided we have full rights to preserve our culture,” the 83-year-old spiritual leader said at “Thank You Karnataka” event here in the city.
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    “Several of Chinese citizens practicing Buddhism are keen on Tibetan Buddhism as it is considered scientific,” the Nobel laureate said.
    Born in Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
    China annexed Tibet in 1950, forcing thousands of Tibetans, including monks, to flee the mountain country and settle in India as refugees.
    Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.
    https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/india/tibetans-ready-to-be-part-of-china-dalai-lama/293109.html

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  13. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

  14. Why doesn’t the United States and its allies end Refugee Status for the useless Tibetans? They have been refugees for 60 years now and don’t tell me they still cannot get their lives back in order?

    Tibetans really know how to put on a good show and use people, take their money and do nothing in return.

    Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians
    In internal emails, Jared Kushner advocated a “sincere effort to disrupt” the U.N.’s relief agency for Palestinians.
    BY COLUM LYNCH, ROBBIE GRAMER | AUGUST 3, 2018, 2:12 PM
    Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, has quietly been trying to do away with the U.N. relief agency that has provided food and essential services to millions of Palestinian refugees for decades, according to internal emails obtained by Foreign Policy.
    His initiative is part of a broader push by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to strip these Palestinians of their refugee status in the region and take their issue off the table in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, according to both American and Palestinian officials. At least two bills now making their way through Congress address the issue.
    Kushner, whom Trump has charged with solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been reluctant to speak publicly about any aspect of his Middle East diplomacy. A peace plan he’s been working on with other U.S. officials for some 18 months has been one of Washington’s most closely held documents.
    But his position on the refugee issue and his animus toward the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is evident in internal emails written by Kushner and others earlier this year.
    “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote about the agency in one of those emails, dated Jan. 11 and addressed to several other senior officials, including Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt.
    “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he wrote.
    The United States has helped fund UNRWA since it was formed in 1949 to provide relief for Palestinians displaced from their homes following the establishment of the State of Israel and ensuing international war. Previous administrations have viewed the agency as a critical contributor to stability in the region.
    But many Israel supporters in the United States today see UNRWA as part of an international infrastructure that has artificially kept the refugee issue alive and kindled hopes among the exiled Palestinians that they might someday return home—a possibility Israel flatly rules out.
    Critics of the agency point in particular to its policy of granting refugee status not just to those who fled Mandatory Palestine 70 years ago but to their descendants as well—accounting that puts the refugee population at around 5 million, nearly one-third of whom live in camps across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza.
    By trying to unwind UNRWA, the Trump administration appears ready to reset the terms of the Palestinian refugee issue in Israel’s favor—as it did on another key issue in December, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    In the same January email, Kushner wrote: “Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are. … Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.”
    Kushner raised the refugee issue with officials in Jordan during a visit to the region in June, along with Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. According to Palestinian officials, he pressed the Jordan to strip its more than 2 million registered Palestinians of their refugee status so that UNRWA would no longer need to operate there.
    “[Kushner said] the resettlement has to take place in the host countries and these governments can do the job that UNRWA was doing,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    She said the Trump administration wanted rich Arab Gulf states to cover the costs Jordan might incur in the process.
    “They want to take a really irresponsible, dangerous decision and the whole region will suffer,” Ashrawi said.
    Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, told reporters in June that Kushner’s delegation had said it was ready to stop funding UNRWA altogether and instead direct the money—$300 million annually—to Jordan and other countries that host Palestinian refugees.
    “All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” hesaid.
    The White House declined to comment on the record for this story. A senior executive branch official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. policy regarding the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee program “has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion. The administration will announce its policy in due course.”
    Jordanian officials in New York and Washington did not respond to queries about the initiative.
    Kushner and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, both proposed ending funding for UNRWA back in January. But the State Department, the Pentagon, and the U.S. intelligence community all opposed the idea, fearing in part that it could fuel violence in the region.
    The following week, the State Department announced that that United States would cut the first $125 million installment of its annual payment to UNRWA by more than half, to $60 million.
    “UNRWA has been threatening us for six months that if they don’t get a check they will close schools. Nothing has happened,” Kushner wrote in the same email.
    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at the time that the U.S. had no intention of eliminating funding for Palestinian refugees, and that it was taking time to explore ways to reform UNRWA and to convince other countries to help Washington shoulder the financial burden of aiding the Palestinians.
    But the following day, Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to Greenblatt, sent an email to the White House’s national security staff indicating that the White House was mulling a way to eliminate the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees.
    “UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR by the time its charter comes up again in 2019,” Coates wrote.
    She noted that the proposal was one of a number of “spitball ideas that I’ve had that are also informed by some thoughts I’ve picked up from Jared, Jason and Nikki.”
    Other ideas included a suggestion that the U.N. relief agency be asked to operate on a month-to-month budget and devise “a plan to remove all anti-Semitism from educational materials.”
    The ideas seemed to track closely with proposals Israel has been making for some time.
    “We believe that UNRWA needs to pass from the world as it is an organization that advocates politically against Israel and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem,” said Elad Strohmayer, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
    Strohmayer said that Palestinians are the only population that is able to transfer its refugee status down through generations.
    The claim, though long advanced by Israel, is not entirely true.
    In an internal report from 2015, the State Department noted that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees “recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees for purposes of their operations.” The report, which was recently declassified, said the descendants of Afghan, Bhutanese, Burmese, Somali, and Tibetan refugees are all recognized by the U.N. as refugees themselves.
    Of the roughly 700,000 original Palestinian refugees, only a few tens of thousands are still alive, according to estimates.
    The push to deny the status to most Palestinians refugees is also gaining traction in Congress.
    Last week, Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, introduced a bill that would limit the United States to assisting only the original refugees. Most savings in U.N. contributions would be directed to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States’ principal international development agency. But USAID is currently constrained by the Taylor Force Act, which restricts the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it ends a policy of providing aid to families of fallen terrorists.
    “Instead of resettling Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli Conflict of 1948, UNRWA provides aid to those they define as Palestinian refugees until there is a solution they deem acceptable to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Lamborn’s bill states.
    “This policy does not help resettle the refugees from 1948 but instead maintains a refugee population in perpetuity.”
    A congressional aide familiar with the legislation said its intent isn’t to gut UNRWA funding, but redirect assistance to descendants through USAID.
    “The people that are suffering should still get assistance, but through appropriately defined humanitarian channels and aid programs,” the aide said.
    Similarly, Sen. James Lankford, (R-Okla.), has drafted legislation that would redirect U.S. funding away from UNRWA and to other local and international agencies.
    The bill, which has not yet officially been introduced, would require the U.S. secretary of state certify by 2020 that the United Nations has ended its recognition of Palestinian descendants as refugees.
    “The United Nations should provide assistance to the Palestinians in a way that makes clear that the United Nations does not recognize the vast majority of Palestinians currently registered by UNRWA as refugees deserving refugee status,” reads a draft obtained by Foreign Policy.
    Previous U.S. administrations have maintained that the vast majority of Palestinian refugees will ultimately have to be absorbed in a new Palestinian state or naturalized in the countries that have hosted them for generations.
    But the fate of the refugee issue was expected to be agreed to as part of a comprehensive peace pact that resulted in the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    “It’s very clear that the overarching goal here is to eliminate the Palestinian refugees as an issue by defining them out of existence,” said Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
    “This isn’t going to make peace any easier. It’s going to make it harder.”
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/03/trump-palestinians-israel-refugees-unrwaand-allies-seek-end-to-refugee-status-for-millions-of-palestinians-united-nations-relief-and-works-agency-unrwa-israel-palestine-peace-plan-jared-kushner-greenb/

    DS.com Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians (1)

  15. Supreme Court of India JUSTICE Mr. MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) writes that Tibet is much better under the Chinese than it was under the lamas who only wanted to make the populace slaves. It was feudal and it will never return to the backwardness again.

    Time has come to acknowledge that Tibet has vastly improved under Chinese rule
    JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) | 12 August, 2018
    From a terribly poor state hinged on a feudal system, Tibet has modernised and grows faster than the rest of China
    This article has been prompted by Jyoti Malhotra’s article in ThePrint ‘Tibetan government quietly changed its PM’s designation. India won’t be unhappy about it‘.
    China’s annexation of Tibet in 1959, ousting the Dalai Lama, had attracted it worldwide criticism. The Dalai Lama fled and was granted asylum in India, where he set up a government-in-exile with its headquarters in Dharamshala.
    The Chinese claim Tibet on the grounds that it has been part of the country since the Yuan dynasty of the 13th century, which is disputed by the government-in-exile. But let us leave this that matter aside.
    The more important question is whether Chinese rule has benefited Tibet.
    The answer is that it undoubtedly has. As the Reuters’ Ben Blanchard writes: “Today Tibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, better dressed and fed”.
    Although Ben goes on to argue that this development masks “a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans”, I will disagree. How can anyone be unhappy if s/he is healthier, better fed and better clothed?
    Under the rule of the Dalai Lamas (Buddhist priests), the people of Tibet were terribly poor, almost entirely illiterate, and lived like feudal serfs.
    Today, Tibet presents a totally different picture. The illiteracy rate in Tibet has gone down from 95 per cent in the 1950s to 42 per cent in 2000. It has modern schools, universities, engineering and medical colleges, modern hospitals, freeways, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, mobile stores and apartment buildings. The capital Lhasa is like any other modern city.
    While the economic growth in the rest of China has slowed down to about 7 per cent, Tibet has had a 10 per cent growth rate in the last two decades.
    Tibet has huge mineral wealth, which was only awaiting Chinese technology to be tapped. Nowadays, it has numerous hydro and solar power plants and industries running with Chinese help.
    Tibetan literature is flourishing, contrary to claims that the Chinese want to crush Tibetan culture.
    Of course, now the lamas cannot treat their people as slaves.
    The so-called ‘government-in-exile’, of which Lobsang Sangay claims to be the President, is a fake organisation, funded by foreign countries. They only want to restore the feudal Tibet, ruled by the reactionary lamas, something which will never happen.
    The writer is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India
    https://theprint.in/opinion/time-has-come-to-acknowledge-that-tibet-has-vastly-improved-under-chinese-rule/97172/

  16. While the government of Nepal has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, they have welcomed 30 Chinese NGOs to enter the country. These NGOs will penetrate the country’s social sector at the grassroots level. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal at one time. Nepal is increasingly open to Chinese influence, a sign that ties between both countries are strengthening, while India’s influence is being reduced. The time has passed for India’s monopoly to remain uninterrupted in Nepal as opportunities to engage with China are being welcomed.

    30 Chinese NGOs all set to work in Nepal
    REWATI SAPKOTA
    Kathmandu, July 30
    At a time when the government has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, 30 Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal to penetrate the country’s social sector and the grassroots.
    The Social Welfare Council Nepal and China NGO Network for International Exchanges, an umbrella body of Chinese NGOs, have signed a memorandum of understanding to enable Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal. The agreement was signed yesterday between SWCN Member Secretary Dilli Prasad Bhatt and CNIE General Secretary Zhu Rui in the presence of Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa and Chinese Deputy Minister of External Affairs Wang Yajun.
    The agreement has paved the way for the first batch of 30 Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal for a period of three years. Their contract will be extended based on the consent of SWCN and CNIE. Representatives of these 30 Chinese NGOs were also present during yesterday’s signing ceremony. They have agreed to work in partnership with local NGOs to implement their programmes and projects.
    The Chinese NGOs are eyeing areas such as livelihood, healthcare, education, skill-based training, community development and disaster management. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs has entered Nepal at one time. The Chinese assistance so far in Nepal has largely been limited to development of infrastructure projects. But the entry of these NGOs indicates China is keen on making its presence felt in Nepal’s social sector and the grassroots, which, till date, have remained domains of the West and countries such as Japan and India.
    The MoU signed between SWCN and CNIE states that Chinese NGOs will be mobilised for ‘the benefit of needy Nepalis and to enhance ties between China and Nepal through people-to-people support programmes’.
    “The Chinese NGOs will abide by the law of Nepal in its entirety while carrying out development cooperation in Nepal,” says the MoU, adding, “Chinese NGOs will submit programmes to the SWCN to carry out development activities in partnership with Nepali NGOs and SWCN in line with plans and policies of the government of Nepal.”
    The MoU was signed at a time when the government has drafted the National Integrity Policy to limit activities of NGOs and INGOs, as some of them were found ‘trying to break communal harmony and proselytising Nepalis’. There were also concerns that high administrative cost of many NGOs and INGOs was preventing money from reaching the real beneficiaries. The policy clearly states that NGOs and INGOs cannot spend more than specified amount under administrative and consultant headings. They will also be barred from working against Nepal’s interests, culture and communal harmony and conducting activities to promote their religious, social or other agenda, adds the policy.
    Around 48,000 NGOs are currently registered in Nepal, of which only 1,600 have been receiving funds from INGOs, as per SWCN. The SWCN has directed INGOs and NGOs to spend 60 per cent of the budget to generate tangible results, while the remaining can be used to cover administrative costs and organise training, meetings and seminars.
    https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/30-chinese-ngos-all-set-to-work-in-nepal/

  17. The cracks in Tibetan society are starting to show, and it is now coming to the attention of local Indians who have all but identified the Tibetan leadership as the source of the divisions. According to this author, disunity amongst the Tibetans is now creating problems for Indian law enforcement agencies, and this disunity may culminate in young Tibetans holding silent grudges against their host country. It is incredible that after six decades of generosity from India, Indians are now facing the very real possibility Tibetans can be ungrateful towards India. The Tibetan leadership totally failed to impart positive values upon their exiled community, like gratitude for those kindest to them and the need to repay these kindnesses with real, tangible results. It’s also very unlikely that the Tibetan leadership will now start to do this, after six decades of failing to do so. Indians need to realise this, and see that there is no benefit for their nation to align themselves with the Tibetan leadership, and there never will be.
    Tibetan disunity not in India’s interest
    John S. Shilshi
    Updated: August 7, 2018, 11:00 AM
    India is home to the Dalai Lama and an estimated 120,000 Tibetan refugees. Though this humanitarian gesture on India’s part comes at the cost of risking New Delhi’s relations with China, India has never wavered in ensuring that Tibetans live with dignity and respect. Notified settlements across the country were made available so that they can live as independently as possible and practice Tibetan religion and culture. They are also allowed to establish centres of higher learning in Tibetan Buddhism. As a result, several reputed Buddhist institutes came up in Karnataka, and in the Indian Himalayan belt. In what may be termed as a gesture well reciprocated, and because of the respect and influence His Holiness the Dalai Lama commands, the Tibetan diaspora also lived as a peaceful community, rarely creating problems for India’s law enforcement agencies.
    The situation, however, changed from 2000 onwards when unity amongst Tibetans suffered some setback due to developments like the Karmapa succession controversy and the controversy over worshiping of Dorje Shugden. In a unique case of politics getting the better of religion, two senior monks of the Karma kargyue sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Tai Situ Rinpoche and late Shamar Rinpoche, developed serious differences after the demise of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa, in 1981. This animosity ultimately led to emergence of two 17th Karmapa candidates in the early nineties. While Tai Situ Rinpoche identified and recognised UghyanThinley Dorje, late Shamar Rinpoche anointed Thinley Thaye Dorje as his Karmapa candidate. Enthronement of their respective protégés at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the supreme seat of the Karma Kargue linage, being their primary objective, both started indulging in activities monks normally are expected to, and bitterness spewed against each other.
    The bitter rivalry assumed a new dimension when UghyenThinley Dorje suddenly appeared in India in January 2000. The competition became fiercer and hectic political lobbying, never known in the history of Tibetan Buddhism on Indian soil, became common place. Apart from pulling strings at their disposal in Sikkim as well as in the power corridors of New Delhi, these senior monks spat against each other with allegations and counter allegations, widening the gaps between their supporters. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, choosing to favour one of the candidates—a decision many Tibet watchers felt was ill-timed—had also limited possible scope of rapprochement. Hence, the Karma Kargyue followers are now vertically divided, while the camps are dragged into a long drawn legal battle.
    Another development that unfortunately split the Tibetans is the controversy over Shugden worshipping, which again is an internal matter of the Gelugpa sect, to which the Dalai Lama belongs. It erupted as a result of the Dalai Lama urging Tibetans to refrain from worshiping Dorje Shugden, a deity believed to be a protector, according to Tibetan legend. Shugden practitioners, who felt offended by the call, describe it as an attack on freedom of religion, a right, which Dalai Lama himself tirelessly fought for. On the other hand, die hard Dalai Lama followers perceived the questioning of the decision as one challenging the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and mounted massive pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners to relent, with some even demolishing the statues of the deity. The rivalry ultimately led to split in two Gelug monasteries in Karnataka, and Serpom and Shar Garden monasteries in Bylakupe and Mundgod respectively came under the control of Shugden followers. The bitterness associated with the split is exemplified by the fact that till today, members of these monasteries are treated as some sort of outcasts by the others. Thus, for the first time, the Tibetan diaspora in India gave birth to sections opposed to the Dalai Lama, with spillover effects in Tibet and elsewhere.
    For India, with a fragile internal security profile, a divided Tibetan population on its soil is not good news. It has several long-term implications. It is common knowledge that China considers Dalai Lama as a secessionist, one plotting to divide their country. The latter’s claim of “all that Tibetans were asking for, was a status of genuine autonomy within the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of China”, had fallen into deaf ears. China also considers him as someone who plays to the Indian tune to tickle China. Therefore, at a time when China has successfully shrunk the Dalai Lama’s space internationally, India continuing to extend the usual space for him is viewed as complicity. Sharp reaction from China when he was allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh in April 2017, is a recent example. Such being the delicate nature of India-China relations on matters and issues concerning Tibetans, India can hardly afford to ignore the division within the diaspora. Past experience of dubious elements from Tibet having succeeded in infiltrating the Central Tibetan Administration, including the security wing, should be a warning.
    It is also time India understands the reason behind Tibetans seeking Indian passports, despite an existing arrangement for issue of Identity Certificates, which is passport equivalent. Some had even successfully taken recourse to legal remedy on the issue, and left the government of India red-faced. These changing moods should not be viewed as desires by Tibetans to become Indian citizens. They are triggered by the pathetic state of affairs associated with issuing of Identity Certificates, where delays in most cases are anything between six months to one year. Early streamlining of the process will drastically reduce their desire to hold Indian passport. It will also remove the wrongly perceived notion among some educated Tibetan youth, that the cumbersome process was a ploy by India to confine them in this country. While India should not shy from requesting the Dalai Lama to use his good offices to end all differences within the community in the interest of India’s internal security, it will also be necessary to ensure that young Tibetans do not nurse a silent grudge against the very country they called their second home.
    https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/tibetan-disunity-not-indias-interest

  18. Although the Dalai Lama has offered an apology, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) still expressed their disappointment over his controversial comment on Nehru, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC). Dalai Lama called Nehru self-centred.

    The Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.

    Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting controversial information to students: Arunachal Congress
    Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation: APCC
    | DAMIEN LEPCHA | ITANAGAR | August 12, 2018 9:58 pm
    disappointment over the recent statement made by Tibetan Spiritual Leader the 14th Dalai Lama in which he called Jawaharlal Nehru, the former Prime Minister of India as “self-centered” and the one responsible for parting India and Pakistan.
    “Although Dalai Lama expressed regret over his controversial comment, the APCC is extremely thwarted by it. A Tibetan spiritual leader calling names to an Indian leader who sweated most to keep him and his followers safe from Chinese aggression is simply not acceptable. Today, India is home to lakhs of Tibetan refugees who are living in 37 settlements and 70 scattered communities across different states of India,” APCC vice-president Minkir Lollen said in a statement on Sunday.
    “Dalai Lama may have forgotten that India provided a beam of light and hope to Tibetans remaining in Chinese-dominated Tibet and in the neighbouring Chinese provinces politically cut off from the Tibetan heart land. All these happened only because India has great leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who took the responsibility of social burden to shelter thousands of persecuted Tibetans then in 1959,” Lollen added.
    Minkir said Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation, hope and trust of millions on record and the same are watching his contribution towards the mankind.
    “In such circumstances, Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting partial and controversial information to the students who are the torch bearer of the nation,” the Congress said.
    Further stating that the statement of the spiritual leader could be a politically motivated one and made with an effort to approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi for survival of his continuation in the country, the Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.
    https://nenow.in/north-east-news/dalai-lama-should-abstain-from-imparting-controversial-information.html

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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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