Clarification Concerning Mrs.Maneka Gandhi’s recent accusation towards Tibetan Community’s involvement in smuggling of Tiger skins in India
We have immense respect for Mrs. Maneka Gandhi’s unbounded devotion towards animals and dedicating her life by educating Indian masses about the preservation of Wild life in India. What really astonished us was her recent statement in India TV news channel on 08th November 2005 when she hypothetically stated that “Tibetan colony (Majnuka Tila) is the center for smuggling Tiger’s and Leopard’s skin”, “Tibetan’s who have prospered and constructed buildings are all engaged in Smuggling of Tiger skin” and the most disheartening was her suggestion to “expel all the Tibetans from India”. Tibetan’s through out the world in general and particularly in Delhi, are deeply saddened and hurt by her irrevocable comments on the naïve Tibetan refugees in general.
We are still finding it rather difficult to understand on what basis she has made such allegations on the whole Tibetan community in India. Our own religious and political leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who advocates Peace and Non Violence through out the world, has repeatedly denounced such crimes.
“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life,” His Holiness said during the launch of a joint campaign by Wild Life Trust of India and Care for Wild International on 6 April in New Delhi.
The fundamental principle of Buddhism is to live in Peace and harmony with all sentient beings. Tibetan community will never compromise or entertain individuals who are engaged in such crimes. Because these crimes are against the basic principles of Tibetan Buddhism, against the wishes of our beloved leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, against the constitution of government of India and the wild life conservation act.
Tibetan community in Majnuka Tilla have taken several measures against happening such potential crimes, by enacting certain laws at the level of local Panchayat on 13th December, 2003 was a good example, which stated that “anyone committing crimes which are unlawful and illegal under Indian constitution, such as smuggling of drug related substances, Tiger skin and bones, selling of alcohols without proper license and prostitutions will be dealt with severe punishments and handed over to the Indian police personals if necessary”.
The people living in Majnuka Tilla strictly follows such an act. There were cases of expelling a few suspicious individuals from the colony and surprised raids were conducted to expose such individual criminals. The main sources of income for the majority of Tibetan refugees in India are agricultural farming, dairy products, and sweater business during winter season at different Indian cities and towns. But the Tibetans living in Majnuka Tilla are depending mostly on their restaurants, guesthouses, Tibetan handicraft items, and etc. Majnuka Tilla is known by many Indian students and public for its delicious Tibetan dishes and good quality clothing’s at a very affordable amount. This has also become a transit place for Tibetans who either come from different parts of India or for those who come from abroad to visit their relatives in India. Most of these guesthouses are run by Mutual Aid Society Groups and different monasteries at a very nominal rate which benefits the common Tibetans who find it affordable. We can understand her annoyance and apprehension, but publicly blaming the entire Tibetan community without any base or investigation was unanticipated and extremely disheartening.
The Tibetan community in Delhi has number of ex servicemen, who served their entire youthful life in the Indian army and many have sacrificed their precious life during the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. During natural disasters such as Gujarat Earthquake, Tsunami, Floods in India, Tibetan community in India has made some generous contributions through funds, Clothing’s, Foods, organizing prayer meetings and Volunteers team for the victims of climatic disaster. In recent times there are several organizations such as Vegetarian Society, Compassion, and etc are working tirelessly to promote compassion and vegetarianism within Tibetan community in exile. Tibetans are also the victims of such crimes in Tibet under the authoritarian Chinese colonial rule. Most of the endangered species in Tibet are now on the verge of extinction due to heavy smuggling. There seems to be a huge network between the Chinese corrupted officials and the underground businessmen. Tiger bones are used for more than a hundred prescriptions of Chinese traditional medicines as well as wine. To prevent such an illegal and unlawful offences in future, she should have demanded immediate actions from the Chinese government rather than making a childish allegation on the whole of Tibetan Community
After the failed Tibetan National Uprising against an illegal occupation by the communist china. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to take political asylum in India, and he was followed by over 85,000 Tibetans. More than 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed under Chinese colonial rule since 1949 and over 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed. Tibet’s natural resources and fragile ecology are being irreversibly destroyed, and there are evidences suggesting that Tibet is being used for dumping of nuclear wastes. Tibetan culture and national identity are being systematically destroyed by the Chinese dictatorial regime. In spite of all these trauma’s going through the minds and hearts of every Tibetans. Tibetan refugees in exile have done partially well in maintaining our own identity and culture. Of course the credit must go to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the people and government of India for their sympathy and providing humanitarian assistance. Therefore, we would like to appeal Mrs. Maneka Gandhi to be genuinely compassionate and respect the sentiments and fundamental rights of Tibetan people.
We wish her all the success in life and our prayers are always with her through out.
Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement, Delhi
Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Delhi
Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Delhi
Association of Guest Houses, Restaurants and Shops, Delhi
Tibetan’s for Vegetarian Society, Delhi
Parent’s Association, Delhi
New Aruna Nagar Colony Resident Welfare Association, Delhi