Tibet Sun Online News
ON THE WEB, 1 August 2018
Ten youths from Arunachal Pradesh have joined the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh as part of a cultural exchange programme.
Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay announced this initiative during a press conference joined by Jamphel Wangdue, Director for Religious and Cultural Affairs, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
Wangdue said that the ten students who are at TIPA are all Monpas, an ethnic group from Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh, a far eastern state in the Indian Himalayas. They will be trained for three months at the Institute.
He said that Monpas and Tibetans share the same culture and beliefs. The presence of Tibetans in the area has benefited the Monpas in shared ancient culture.
Expressing deep anguish over the student protests against Tibetans living in Arunachal Pradesh, he said that some ignorant people are causing the trouble. The students have been chanting, “Tibetans go back [to Tibet]”.
“We as Monpas are taking it as our responsibility to do whatever we can to stop the students from these hostile acts against the Tibetans,” Wangdue said.
Lobsang Sangay said that there are about 5,000 Tibetans in Arunachal, who live in harmony with the local people.
“For Tibetans, to abide by the law, be friendly, and live in harmony with the local people are their responsibility,” Sangay said.
Wangdue said that the local Monpas have been feeling embarrassed by the student protests against Tibetans. He also said there are a few Monpa students in the student movement, which is dominated by non-Monpa students.
“There are many Monpas in Tibetan monasteries in South India and students in Tibetans schools. They all are expressing a sense of embarrassment for the situation, and would like to see an end to the current situation,” Wangdue said.
The local Monpas and the state government are holding a meeting on 10 August to try to bring an end to the student agitation.
“We will be speaking about bringing awareness to the Monpa students about the ties between Tibetans and Monpas since ancient times, the benefit the Monpas receive from the Tibetans, and the benevolence and love of Dalai Lama to the people of Arunachal Pradesh.”
The Students’ United Movement of All Arunachal (SUMAA) is the leading students’ organisation protesting against the Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh.
They are demanding that the state government scrap the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014, which is a central government policy for Tibetans with certain privileges.
The protesters ask that why Tibetan refugees would be afforded better treatment, while the locals are deprived of such benefits.
SUMAA also charged that Tibetans are illegally obtaining documents identifying themselves as natives, and taking double benefits as both locals and Tibetan refugees.
All West Kameng District Students’ Union is another group protesting against Tibetans raising similar issues, asking the state government to verify if they are taking dual benefits.