Tibetans in Tashi Jong denied voting rights

Tibetans stand in queue to cast their ballot during the Indian general election at Tashi Jong, India, on 7 May 2014.

Tibetans stand in queue to cast their ballot during the Indian general election at Tashi Jong, India, on 7 May 2014. Facebook

Tibet Sun Onlinenews

ON THE WEB, 12 January 2016

Tibetans in Tashi Jong found their names missing from the voting list for election of the local leader of their locality Nagar Panchayat on Sunday.

Tibetans from Tashi Jong near Baijnath-Paprola were found not listed to elect their ward member.

A Tibetan who didn’t want to be named said that they have been informed by the election official that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) from Dharamshala had instructed him to block Tibetans from casting their votes.

He did not have any further information.

Another Tibetan, who also did not want to be named, said that there are about 100 Tibetans who are registered voters in Tashi Jong Tibetan settlement.

There are six municipal councils in Kangra district — Nurpur, Kangra, Dehra, Palampur, Nagrota Bagwan, and Jawalamukhi. Jawali and Baijnath-Paprola are Nagar Panchayats, the council system for areas which are in transition from a rural to an urban settlement.

Members of the Nagar Panchayat form a committee consisting of a chairman/mayor and ten ward members. They monitor the implementation of all the programmes related to planning and development of the locality. They are elected from the several wards of the Nagar Panchayat for a term of five years, on the basis of adult franchise.

Tibetan Settlement Officer in McLeod Ganj, Sonam Dorjee, said that Tibetans in McLeod Ganj will go to elect members in the Dharamshala Municipal Corporation in February.

He said that the campaigning for the election has started.

A Municipal Coporation in India manages the development of a city with a population of more than one million (ten lakh). The detailed structure varies from state to state, but the basic structure and function is about the same.

The election commission of India ordered the local election commissioners all over India to register Tibetans in the voting list, in an order in February 2014. The order was on the basis of the provision of clause 3a of the Citizenship Act of India, which said that those who were born in India between 26 January 1956 and 1 July 1987 are citizens of India.

Hundreds of Tibetans who registered their names were issued the Indian voting card, and many participated in the May 2014 Indian general election.

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