In violation of Charter, Kashag impedes issuing of passports to Tibetans

Kashag secretary Topgyal Tsering.

Kashag secretary Topgyal Tsering. Facebook

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 3 August 2017

In violation of the exile Tibetan Charter, the Kashag (Secretariat of the Central Tibetan Administration) has ordered all the Departments under it to stop issuing NOC (no objection certificate) or any letter of support to Tibetans applying for Indian passport.

The Kashag’s order was issued on 5 July, and was circulated to the Tibetan settlement offices around India by the Department of Home on 7 July.

The Kashag took this decision following the RPO (Regional Passport Office) Bengaluru’s directive that Tibetans who have surrendered their RC (Registration Certificate, which is the stay permit in India) must leave the Tibetan settlement they are residing, and that they cannot take benefits from CTA.

A Tibetan who would like to apply for a passport must surrender their RC at the FRO, the Foreigner’s Registration Office at the police station where it is issued and renewed.

Since there is no instruction from the government of India to the police stations, there is a lack of uniform rules about surrendering RC. Some FROs have stopped asking for an NOC to surrender the RC, such as in Dharamshala. There are others who are requiring it such as in Mainpat in Chattisgarh. Some FROs, such as in Dalhousie, are not accepting the surrender of RC at all, claiming lack of instructions from higher authorities.

The Department of Security of CTA was issuing the NOC for Tibetans in and around Dharamshala, but it has now stopped since the Kashag’s order.

However, the Kashag’s order seems to be in violation of Article 8(2) of the Charter of the Tibetans-in-exile. This Article says: Any exile Tibetan can seek citizenship of another country and still retain their Tibetan nationality provided they fulfil the five clauses of Article 13.

The clauses of Article 13 are that a Tibetan must:

  1. Have faith in the Central Tibetan Administration.
  2. Respect and practice the Charter and the laws of the Tibetans-in-exile.
  3. Take part in the Tibetan freedom struggle.
  4. Pay tax to the Central Tibetan Administration as per the rules.
  5. Fulfil responsibilities laid down by law at times of emergency for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan public.

It is on the basis of Article 8(2) that Tibetans who are living in and have acquired citizenship of another country retain their Tibetan nationality.

Lack of response from CTA

A monk from Mainpat has been asked for an NOC by the FRO in order to surrender his RC, but the settlement officer refused to issue the NOC, citing the Kashag’s order.

When this journalist requested the Kashag secretary, Topgyal Tsering, for an interview, the secretary refused to take questions.

In response to the statement that it was the responsibility of the position to answer questions from journalists, he said that the Tibet Sun’s stories have created problems and that this journalist has not taken his responsibilities.

Kashag has stated that the Tibetan youth should not think of short-term benefits, but must continue to fight for the Tibetan struggle, and that they should not eschew the exile identity.

With the Kashag secretary refusing to be interviewed, there now remain the unanswered questions:

  1. Hasn’t Kashag violated the Charter of the Tibetans in exile by ordering not to issue NOC to apply for a passport?
  2. Has the CTA confirmed with the Government of India whether the RPO Bengaluru rules were that of the Government of India?
  3. Saying that youth shouldn’t think of short-term benefits (such as taking a passport) and must retain exile identity, what about the Tibetans at the top posts, including the President of CTA, who possess foreign passports/stay permits rather than RC?
  4. If Tibetans without RC must stop taking benefits of the CTA as per the Government of India’s order, what about those in the CTA without RC who are taking benefits, including the President of CTA, Kalons (Ministers), and Members of Parliament?

The Kashag secretary refusing to answer is against the principles of democracy and freedom for which the CTA is ostensibly fighting. It is against the Tibetan people’s right to know, and reveals the lack of accountability of the secretary.

The secretary’s criticism of our reporting, and statment that it has created problems, call for an explanation. Tibet Sun’s reports have always been based on facts, and have never contained false or inaccurate information. Sticking to ethics and accountability, Tibet Sun works for matters relating to public concern and importance.

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