Indian Citizen and Patriotic Tibetan

posted Apr 30, 2013, 8:50 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
By Jamyang Dorjee.

Dear Editors,

 I am very grateful to the editorial board of the Tibetan political review for raising this important issue for discussion and also good to know the citizenship status of our Kalons. It will be good to know the citizenship status of our members of the exile parliament also. I  have been talking about this for many years and I found that policy makers do understand but not interested to take further action. In fact many years ago, one of the members of the upper house of the Indian Parliament from Sikkim Mr P.T.Gyamtso spoke about this issue on RFA [Radio Free Asia], while he was on a tour in Washington DC and appealed to take up Indian citizenship.

I am an Indian passport holder, served as a Joint Secretary, a state civil servant of the Indian State of Sikkim before serving TGIE for 12 long years and thereafter resigned.  I would like to share some of my thoughts here.  Unlike other parts of Tibetan settlements in India, Sikkim is restricted area and therefore, almost all Tibetans are born in India between January 26, 1950—July 1, 1987, and likely their children and therefore are legally Indian citizens from birth. Tibetans living in Gangtok, the metro town, realizes this and therefore enjoy all the facilities of a citizen including voter’s right, while Tibetans in Kunpheling settlement in the south of Sikkim are bound by the TGIE law and RC holders and therefore even do not possess ration cards! Yet, both the Tibetans in Gangtok and Kunpheling settlement participate equally in all the activities together and none are more or less Tibetan. I also served few years in Delhi and can say that registration of many Tibetans in the camp as voters in the Delhi assembly and hence opting for Indian citizenship has also played a vital role in the regularization of the Majnukatilla camp.

The success of the Tibet lobby day in the United States is a clear example of the usefulness of patriotic Tibetans with American citizen and how it can make positive changes in the policy of the country.  India, so far, has been very kind as far as the humanitarian part is concerned yet not supportive to the cause of Tibet. Only a politically relevant group, with constitutional rights, can effect policy change in a democracy and Tibetans in India, while maintaining or strengthening our exile administrative system, within the law of the land, can make huge difference.

Since many of the exile policy makers, who are by and large, enlightened lot of the  society, may have understood the merits and demerits of opting for citizenship and hence opted for Indian, USA, and Canadian citizenship must now be practical and  allow the rest of the Tibetan, who are legally eligible for such rights to go ahead in a systemic manner.

It is 50 years plus now in exile and the period of seeking humanitarian assistance is over. If we have to seek political support from the country we live in, it is important to use all the political tools available and one of them is to opt for Indian citizen yet remain a patriotic Tibetan.

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