By Hakeem Irfan | TNN
SRINAGAR, India, 28 April 2016
The organisers of a four-day conference on Freedom, Justice and Equality in Dharamshala, where dissidents from China’s ethnic and religious minorities are meeting have left out Tibetan Muslims living in Kashmir.
The Tibetan Muslims, who came to Kashmir in 1961 from Lhasa, have not received any invitation for the event, where Dalai Lama is receiving and addressing the delegates of the conference — “Strengthening our Alliance to Advance the People’s Dream: Freedom, Justice, Equality and Peace” — organized by a US-based organization Citizen Power for China assisted by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and Students for a Free Tibet India.
“We are aware of the conference, but none of us have received any invitation,” says Masood Bhat of Hawal in Srinagar, who also worked in Central Tibetan Administration for 15 years in Dharamshala.
The conference has already run into controversy over government of India granting and later cancelling visa of World Uyghur Congress leader Issa Dolkun. Tibetan Muslims living in Srinagar are of Kashmiri origin as their ancestors had settled in Tibet in 12th century, where they used to go for trade. In 1961, around 129 Muslim families migrated from Lhasa to Kashmir, when China completely took over Tibet. Right now there are around 550 Tibetan Muslim families living in Hawal, Makhdoom Sahib, and Eidgah areas of Srinagar.