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:
- Have faith in the Central Tibetan Administration.
- Respect and practice the Charter and the laws of the Tibetans-in-exile.
- Take part in the Tibetan freedom struggle.
- Pay tax to the Central Tibetan Administration as per the rules.
- 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:
- Hasn’t Kashag violated the Charter of the Tibetans in exile by ordering not to issue NOC to apply for a passport?
- Has the CTA confirmed with the Government of India whether the RPO Bengaluru rules were that of the Government of India?
- 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?
- 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.
It is totally illogical and illegal for the Kashag to be ordering not to issue support/reference letters. They are disregarding our own Charter. If Kashag considers our Charter as a worthless document, then who will value and respect it? This should be rectified as soon as possible.
As the reporter pointed out, it should be made clear how it’s ok for the people in the top posts to be there taking all the benefits without RC, and common Tibetans have to have RC when they try to get a job, scholarship, or any other benefits. These same common people pay the same tax to CTA and hold the green book, like the people in the top posts. So why there is discrimination and inequality? Aren’t we asking the Chinese government to give us equal rights, and more importantly, to follow the rule of law?
With regard to the Indian government asking Tibetans to leave their settlements, this is also in violation of Indian laws. Tibetans in these settlements have lived their whole lives there. Now they are being asked to leave after they get a passport. The rule asking that Tibetans cannot take CTA benefits after getting Indian passport has nothing to do with the Government of India. Anybody in India has the right to be associated with any organisation or association. Asking not to be associated with CTA is denying this basic right enshrined in the Indian constitution. Government of India should withdraw these rules, which are violating Indian laws.
Had it not been for the difficult Yellow Book, I am sure Tibetans would not be interested to take Indian citizenship. It’s only for the passport that they are after. The Yellow Book takes at least one year to process. And during the process, when police inquiry comes, we have to shell out at least 500 rupees to the police just to have his ok report. Once we get the Yellow Book, visa is hard to get because embassies don’t like this document. Even if you get a visa, there is the return visa and the exit permit hassles. These permits are to be sought from the police, which again involves having to pay bribe money to process. In South India these permits take two months to process, while the bribe money could be up to 10,000 rupees, not including the costs of running around to different offices.
The immigration checks are another story. Even the Indian immigration officials have not seen or heard of the Yellow Book. There is complete lack of awareness by these officials. Indian government should provide them a short orientation course before these staff take charge and should have told them about the various travel documents and the rules. No, nothing. So it often takes extra time for these officials to find out what a Yellow Book is, and often make their own rules resulting in barring of travel by Tibetans. Then comes the immigration abroad. They get surprised when they see a person travelling on an “Identity Certificate” instead of a passport. (Technically the Yellow Book is called Identity Certificate. It is called Yellow Book because of the colour of the cover.) Then they pull Tibetans aside for questioning, making it look as if some kind of crime has been committed.
All these led to Tibetans to seek Indian passport. CTA should come to help rather than hinder. Top CTA officials don’t have to go through such hassles as for them everything is taken care of. I have never seen Samdhong Rinpoche going to renew his RC. I have never seen Samdhong Rinpoche running around for return visa and exit permit, or standing in queue for a visa. I have never seen any of the Kalons doing these things.
It is time for Kasahg to think properly and make sensible decisions. Tibetans holding passport doesn’t mean they will give up the Green Book or the “Free Tibet” activities.
It is imperative that the draft constitution of the Tibetan people be very clear regarding citizenship of Tibetans in Exile. On the other hand, the executive wing of the Central Tibetan Administration must execute an unbiased and transparent policy regarding Tibetans obtaining Indian, American, Australian or any other citizenship. Applying for an Indian Citizenship does not dilute one’s connection nor support for the Tibetan cause. It merely adds an element of stability to the individuals existential status in relation to the land where they might be living in.
However, if Tibetans who are applying for Indian Citizenship are not supported by the CTA on grounds of national sentiment or Indian government pressure, then the same principle should be applied to those to have US, Australian or Swiss citizenship and contributing their green book donations and even more so, those who serve in the CTA and other organizations and institutions in exile including the Ganden Phodrang.
A rule must be uniform and blind to individual influence or stature. Only then will it be respected and followed. Otherwise, the relevancy and truthfulness of CTA will erode in it hypocrisy and Tibetans in India will start to deeply question their loyalty to the CTA.
What is the point to discuss and disclose each other’s through media without solid proof. Better we should find out the appropriate solution and please don’t try to break up our common cause and goal. May truth prevail soon. REMEMBER those who try to play double standards will be at any case won’t be able to escape from our God and goddesses.
Speak truthfully about citizenship like Lobsang Wangyal
N’suffer the brunt of CTA regulations.
Hide facts about citizen status like Sikyong and Sharling
N’enjoy the CTA cake and its icings too.
Modern-day moral of the story: Tell lies because truth sucks
I sincerely appreciate Lobsang Wangyal’s forthright reporting on the subject. If Govt of India’s latest orders on the Tibetans who have acquired or are going to acquire Indian citizenship are to be implemented to the letter, all foreign passport holders including Tibetan-Indians holding high posts in CTA should resign forthwith or revert back to RC. Ordinary Tibetans who are seeking Indian citizenship are, on one hand, being harassed by not issuing them NOC and on the other hand they remain denied the right to live with their family members in refugee camps on being granted Indian citizenship which also appears to be violative of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution as per some legal opinions. Same rules should apply to all Tibetans including those running CTA. If only RC holders are permitted to associate or live with or govern RC holding Tibetans as per the orders, let it be so in actual practice without any discrimination/double standards. It appears you have the backing of all the affected common people.
First of all, Lobsang Wangyal is a true and dedicated Tibetan journalist and nationalist who loves and wants to help fellow innocent exile Tibetans through his report on good, bad, ugly CTA employees.
Secondly, corruption, nepotism and bribery is not a new infected culture under Gadhen Phodrang leadership, but now been started metastasizing to schools, CTA offices, 22 etc. In 1992, under the ex-Sikyong, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, a massive nepotism took place in Gangchen Kyishong during the US-Tibetan Resettlement. CTA had undermined their own rules and regulations setup by themselves.
The most leading corruption, nepotism, favourtism and bribery in CTA are [..] all the major players in CTA.
Lobsang wangyal la, I am with you. We are all equal before law. Why double standard for few?
This time, it’s no good news! So here goes Kungo Topgyal’s face. Last time, when Sikyong had bad Flag news, we got Kungo Dhakpo’s face.
Why Sikyong, Kaydor, and Sharling’s faces When there’s some good news. And wearied innocent hardworking officials when there’s not so good news?
True very true. In English we call scapegoats.
Thank you for this unbiased report. The fate of our society is ridiculous and hypocritical…
– Sikyong holds a foreign passport. He is a US citizen and has nothing to lose. Came to serve only when he got a Sikyong post! So expect no selfless service from this self-serving man.
– People like Gyari and Dhadon Sharling hold Indian passport and have not pursued through a legal process that handful of people like Lobsang Wangyal and Lhagyari Namgyal have done. The current Kashag rules must apply only to Gyari and Sharling as much as it applies to Lowang and Lhagyari.
– Worse, I don’t know about Gyari, but, just like someone wrote below, the talk of the town has that Dhadon Sharling holds both an IC and also an Indian passport, which is illegal and a crime. For her credibility and trustworthiness, she must decide whether to be an RC or Indian Passport holder, not both.
– If the post below which has that Tibetan Officials holding foreign passport have received retired CTA Elderly Home, they should be retrieved immediately from these rich ’squatters’ and given retired CTA officials and staff who holds only an RC, are the true Tibetan exiles and have served their entire life at a paltry wage.
At a time, when President of CTA and his cohorts like Dhardon Sharling take their salary to spent 24/7 only updating their Facebook, it is time sincere officials step up and take the reins. When cornered, it is not “courteous” for senior officials to keep quiet. It is not patience or “Yarab”, it is just “irresponsibility”.
Bru Yonten I cannot help you if LS and DS are immensely popular not only in their professional sphere but also on social media. Both are very good looking although DS could have been taller and have a great appeal. They have huge fan base. So instead of complaining about their social media activity…see the impact of their posts. It’s more popular than all other media put together.
Good points and why Dhardon Sharling promoting her facebook and twitter account with official materials. If she is sincere then kindly use official social-media handlers to promote CTA news. May be she is doing same like President of CTA using official resource to promote his social media handlers.
Why this clause to Tibetans in India? What about Tibetans who go abroad and apply for citizenship? In fact govt itself send them to be foreign citizens. Why biased?
I have another question, sir, if I may be so bold. Article 13 #3 says that Tibetans must take part in the Tibetan Freedom Struggle. I had the distinct impression that the Tibetan Freedom Struggle had been officially given up from the very top from long ago and some kind of compromise under Chinese law was the newer policy. Can this be explained please if possible, that why the Article 13 #3 clause is still in place if the policy has in fact changed.
Thank you and thanks for the excellent report. It is very interesting situation and as a long term sympathiser and Tibetophile I am watching it closely.
Dear Mr. Jones,
I know editor Mr. Lobsang Wangyal-la is more knowledgeable and has updated info on all matters.
Because you are a friend of Tibet, lemme share what many Tibetans like myself feel. The definition of freedom, as you know, has different connotations when applied to different aspects of the human society. In the 1960s to early-1980s, Tibetans defined freedom on a national level, I mean “Tibet”, and understood freedom as synonymous to independence. So, FREE TIBET = INDEPENDENCE TIBET.
But then with the introduction of the Middle Way in 1980s, the definition began to apply to people, “Tibetans”, and embraced the more universal definition. Now, FREE TIBET is technically incompatible with Middle Way. Yet we still call for FREEDOM, meaning FREEDOM FOR TIBETANS LIVING INSIDE “TIBET” (And, status of “Tibet” is expected to be decided through Sino-Tibetan negotiations, which unfortunately never saw the light since His Holiness devolved power to the Sikyong in 2011)
It’s high time CTA incorporate RTI (Right To Information) Act in our charter.
If not for your investigative journalism, we wouldn’t know what Sikyong’s Kashag is up to these days. How could Kashag violate our precious charter? This secretary in the photo looks quite menacing and combative. Who is he?
These days, people only recognize Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and his [DIIR Secretary] Dhardon Sharling who are running the CTA show because all we see and hear in CTA forums are propaganda news about them. Sikyong did this…, Dhardon Sharling said that… Maybe we should name CTA as LSDS or something.
Anyhow, Good luck with your reporting, Lobsang Wangyal la!
Kalsang Tsering, yes, CTA today is LSDS show because both of them are most hardworking and brilliant. They give CTA the name and fame. We need more like them.
Tibet Sun has done its job. Now it is the job of the public to ask same questions to self serving bureaucrats in Dharamsala.
Tibetan public should ask their Chithues/parliamentary representatives to discuss this issue during the September 2017 parliament session. I am sure there are still Chithues holding RCs who have no qualms in raising this issue in the parliament. Can’t say the same about those Chithues holding Indian or other foreign citizenships (why risk losing one’s seat in the parliament?)
Bottomline: This issue should be raised by the Tibetan public and the CTA should respond and stop being irresponsible. People know this old game won’t work anymore: ignore Tibet Sun’s report and readers’ comments and the issue will naturally die down.
Lobsang wangyal la, expose those double standard individual who only believes in fooling, undermining and with pure objective of ruling the ignorant general Tibetan masses. It was because Tibetan landlord and serfdom for which bloody communist Chinese occupied our nation then and now it’s those political and power mongering heads who not only undermine our general Tibetan masses for the heck of maintaining their empty political mileage.
Knock every door possible to expose those hypocrite being and bring up a major Tibetan mass movement exposing scumbags. We are with you!
Very important issues raised here. No more double standards please. I commend Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal for bringing up such issues for clarification and resolution. As long as people fulfill the 5 clauses of the Article 13, what is the problem?
Politics everywhere! I guess we should stop sending Tibetans to foreign countries to get refuge and also to get the citizenship of that COuntry. We should stay in India and die in India only. Jai Mata Di!
CTA is a big joke. They only want ppl not to develop and stay in control under them. I never trust them from long back. Most of them are corrupt.
I support your view..
The law should be equal to each and every Tibetan. it’s a fact that there are many Bureaucrats in CTA who holds and travel on Indian passports. Firstly the Kashag should make a clear instruction to them and later to the ordinary Tibetans. The concerned CTA department should consult with the MHA & MEA Govt of India on this issue. Even some embassy have asked Tibetans to provide Travel Document instead of Identity Certificate. I personally thanks Mr. Lobsang Wangyal la for taking this issues to the court.
Both people in the government service and its constituents are exercising their democratic rights in a responsible way to embellish our status quo in exile to justify our means. However, it’s imperative that we don’t inadvertently kill the golden goose in the process of exercising our civic principles.
I see the cup as half full rather than half empty, and further tend to lean on the notion of contribution rather than nitpicking criticism in splitting a strand of hair. As such, pointing my finger at CTA is not my cuppa.
Surrender your US PASSPORT to the US government and then move to Dharamshala to serve KFC chickens to the kashag. And then talk about golden goose. DOUBLE STANDARD.
CTA staff with Indian passport should resign now that Indian government forbade them from association with CTA related privileges. Names that come to mind are 1. Lobsang Sangay. 2. Dadon Sharing. 3. Gyari Dolma.
If they don’t, then Tibetan public will rise up in protest.
Also this question must be answered so that there are no double standards:
“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?”
I know there are some retired CTA officials who not only hold foreign citizenship but also retirement homes provided by CTA in Tibetan refugee settlements such as Bylakuppe.
I salute Tibet Sun’s courage and unbiased reports. This is the spirit of true journalism. We have so many other media in our society but nobody dares to report on this. Keep up the good work, and Bhod Gyalo