By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 16 March 2018
A mass protest against President of the Central Tibetan Administration Lobsang Sangay was announced by members of the group “Truth-Seeking Volunteers”.
The protest seeks the impeachment of Lobsang Sangay for actions which the protesters say are akin to those of a “dictator”. They are also calling for resignation of member of Parliament Tenpa Yarphel for speaking against the state oracle Nechung and denouncing the Dalai Lama.
They are also seeking a reply from Sangay and his Cabinet in response to the reply of former Representative of the Office of Tibet in Washington DC Penpa Tsering to the 10-point reasons for his termination from the office by the Cabinet.
Penpa Tsering was terminated from the office on 7 November 2017, one year and three months after his appointment.
Thinley Kelsang, one of the foremost protesters calling for Sangay’s impeachment, said that Sangay has taken many decisions without the approval of the exile Tibetan Parliament. “There are more than enough reasons for his impeachment,” he said.
A petition has been submitted to the members of the Parliament to initiate his impeachment. The Parliament is currently holding its 10-day budget session.
Kelsang also said that the 10-point reasons given by the cabinet to dismiss Penpa Tsering were complete eyewash. “The reasons lacked substance.”
Droves of protesters from India, Nepal, Europe, and the US are expected to gather at the CTA premises tomorrow while the exile Parliament is in session. The protest will go on till the Parliament session ends on the 24th.
During a press conference announcing the protest, Thinley Kelsang said, “We are not against the Dalai Lama, we are not against the Central Tibetan Administration, but we are against Lobsang Sangay for his unjust and irresponsible actions.”
“We hope that the ongoing Parliament session will discuss our petition seeking impeachment, and our demand to appoint a committee to review the issue around termination of Penpa Tsering.”
While making his annual statement on the Tibetan Uprising Day on 10 March, Sangay said that it is the Cabinet’s prerogative to appoint or terminate the representatives, and that those who are unable to digest Penpa Tsering’s dismissal could go to court to seek justice.
Responding to that statement, Thinley Kelsang said that a remark like “go to court” is a clear sign of being irresponsible. “We are like a family. All internal matters should be tried to sort out through dialogue first. Next could be discussion in the Parliament. Court should be the the last resort.”
“To speak about the issue of the termination of Penpa Tsering during the 10 March uprising commemoration is a clear sign of irresponsibility.”
It is believed that the immediate cause of Penpa Tsering’s ouster was his raising the issue of a 1.5-million US dollar loan taken from the Tibet Fund in New York City to purchase the new Office of Tibet building in Washington DC.
Penpa Tsering was said to have questioned Sangay about the non-existence of a corresponding document at the Office of Tibet showing that they owe that amount to the Tibet Fund.
Sangay clarified in the Parliament on Thursday that 1.5 million was “not a loan” but “a grant”.
Thinley Kelsang argued that the Tibet Fund has shown 1.5 million as “a loan” over the years in its financial statements, but Sangay is using the word “grant”.
He further added that the all the deals with Tibet Fund have been signed by former representative Kaydor as from the Office of Tibet, whereas the building has been purchased under the newly-formed Tibetan Community Development Fund.
“There certainly is an issue, and there are some journalists in the US inquiring about the issue. If the US government comes to know about the issue, who will be in trouble. Wouldn’t His Holiness the Dalai Lama be in trouble?”
About 50 people were seen during the press conference. Interacting with them, Tibet Sun learned that some have travelled from Nepal, Bylakuppe, and Dehra Dun. One of them said they are expecting about a thousand people tomorrow to join the protest.
Speaking alongside Thinley Kelsang, Thinley Namgyal from New York City said he is a Khampa himself like Lobsang Sangay. He said that he is protesting to support truth and justice. “I didn’t see any merit in the termination of Penpa Tsering.”
Another speaker, Chime Dorje from Nepal, said that he also supported the impeachment of Lobsang Sangay and Tenpa Yarphel.