Yongling school – MP Dawa Tsering accused of corruption

Pasang Tsewang aka Yabchen speaks to journalists

Pasang Tsewang aka Yabchen speaks to journalists in front of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission accusing MP Dawa Tsering of corruption, in Dharamshala, India, on 22 July 2013. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 22 July 2013

Appearing in his role as an anti-corruption crusader, Pasang Tsewang announced the continuation of his fight against Dawa Tsering’s claims of ownership over Yongling Kindergarten.

Mr Tsewang held a press conference in front of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on the grounds of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Dharamshala, saying that he would file a case against Dawa Tsering in the District Court of Dharamshala.

He feels that the Department of Education of CTA should take possession of and manage Yongling Kindergarten, since the District court in Dharamshala had judged that the school belongs to the Tibetan community and is not the personal property of Dawa Tsering.

The Yongling Kindergarten was inaugurated on 1 April 1984 at a private home on TIPA road in McLeod Ganj, with one of the founders being Dawa Tsering.

Since Mr Tsering had been running the school as his personal business, in 2001 Pasang Tsewang brought him in front of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, which decided on 24 September 2004 that the Yongling school belonged not to Dawa Tsering but to the Tibetan community.

Then Dawa Tsering filed a case in Indian High Court in Shimla in 2004 seeking Rs 10,25,000 (Rupees ten lakh twenty five thousand) on account of defamation caused by Pasang Tsewang.

The High Court transferred the case to the District Court in Dharamshala, where it was heard on 6 August 2011. One of the rulings was that Dawa Tsering, the plaintiff, had no right to possess and manage the school property, as the property belonged to the Tibetan community.

Mr Tsewang feels that, in the light of the above judgements by two courts, CTA is duty-bound to take possession and manage Yongling School.

There are a few documents which Pasang Tsewang presented defending his case against Dawa Tsering, which he shared with the journalists during the press conference.

One of them is a letter sent by Kashag secretariat (the Tibetan cabinet secretariat) to Dawa Tsering and his colleague Lodoe Tharchin (late) on 3 June 1983, instructing them to avoid personally possessing the school or making such claims in the future.

The second document is a letter sent by the Council for Tibetan Education (now Department of Education) of CTA, on 11 June 1984 to the members of the Parents’ Association of Yongling school, congratulating them for successfully establishing the school.

The third document is a letter sent on 16 May 1997 by the Department of Education to Dawa Tsering, in his position as Welfare Officer of Tibetans in McLeod Ganj, agreeing to sanction rupees 15,21,000 (rupees fifteen lakh twenty one thousand) towards the construction of a children’s hostel. A Japanese donor, Mrs Yuko Gotoh, provided this fund.

In a short interview, Dawa Tsering said that the District Court in Dharamshala upheld the verdict of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, but the Commission has no authority to decide on property issues. And the Tibetan Commission had not directed the Department of Education to take over the property of Yongling.

He further stated that Yongling Kindergarten is a registered society and has a governing body, and that it is not owned by one person.

Dawa Tsering has served the exile community with various activities and initiatives over many years. He was an active member of the Tibetan Youth Congress in the 70s and 80s, and served as the Welfare Officer of Dharamshala for a number of years.

In 2001, he was among three people appointed by the Dalai Lama as members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile. He was elected to the Parliament in the 2006 and 2011 elections.

Pasang Tsewang says that he will be needing 20 lakh rupees for court costs to fight the case. He has made a blog page: Yongling Case giving details in both English and Tibetan.

Updated with additional information from Dawa Tsering.

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