Tibetan man faces verification hurdle

Cries foul: Accuses the police of making the councillor issue another certificate stating that he is not a permanent resident of India

By Naresh K Thakur | Hindustan Times

DHARAMSHALA, India, 27 November 2016

After winning the court case, Tibetan showman Lobsang Wangyal’s fight to get an Indian passport has hit another hurdle due to an ‘adverse’ verification report by the local police.

Wangyal, who is the director of Miss Tibet pageant, and two others — Phuntsok Wangyal and Tenzin Dhonden — had moved the Delhi High Court (HC) in May this year, seeking directives to the Ministry of External Affairs to issue an Indian passport to Tibetans [born in India].

In a judgement delivered on 22 September, the Delhi HC said that the nationality of Tibetans who were born in India between 1950 and 1967 cannnot be questioned under the Citizenship Act. HC directed the government to issue passports to all Tibetans who meet the critera of being an Indian citizen by birth.

“Following the court’s order, I applied for passport on October 20 and an inquiry arrived at the McLeod Ganj police on October 21,” said Wangyal.

As per the procedure, Wangyal said “I obtained a certificate from the councillor, stating that I have been residing at my present address for the last 20 years, and that he (the councillor) knows me personally. I submitted it to the police.”

The 46-year-old said that he got a call from the passport office on Shimla stating that due to an adverse police report, the passport cannot be issued.

“When I approached the local police, it was revealed that the certificate that I submitted was discarded. And without my knowedge, police made the councillor issue another certificate stating that I am not a permanent resident of India. It also said that I was residing in a rented accommodation,” said Wangyal.

“The authority concerned said that since I own no land or property here, the councillor should have written on the certificate that I am Tibetan,” he said, adding that when he has met the Superintendent of Police (SP), he has [been] assured that the issue will be resolved.

“Now I have to submit an affidavit at the passport office that I am a permanent resident of McLeod Ganj and have only this address to get the verification re-issued. This is likely to cause further delays,” said Wangyal.

He questioned the functioning of police, asking whether it is ncessary to own land or property to get a passport. “Also, police making the councillor issue a certificate without my knowledge was illegal,” he said.

SP Sanjeev Gandhi said that the earlier report was based on the certificate issued by the councillor.

“We have also written to the municipal corporation to issue a fresh certificate,” added the SP.

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