By Baldev S. Chauhan
Shimla - Tibetan websites have been the target of hackers this week with a majority of them hacked and damaged, leaving surfers agitated.
According to one estimate at least 30 Tibetan websites have been hacked.
The hacked websites include nearly all the Tibetan non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other Tibetan-related sites, some of which have been vociferous about the Tibetan cause.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), an NGO monitoring the human rights situation in Tibet, has been destroyed by hackers.
"We are naturally disturbed by the hacking of our site. In a way the web is our world as we don't have our country. But now we are being denied even this freedom," said Tenzing Norgay of TCHRD.
The server owners of the hacked sites told their subscribers that they are trying to cope with the damage to their systems and get it repaired. They have no clue about the offenders.
The servers include World Bridges of the US. Jeff Leboy, the owner of the server, is a keen supporter of the Tibetan cause, say Tibetan refugees.
Lobsang Wangyal, owner of Lobsang Wangyal productions and organiser of the Ms Tibet website, also had his site hacked.
"I am in the process of repairing my website. Luckily, I had a lot of back up data," Wangyal told IANS on phone from the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, 280 km from this Himachal Pradesh capital.
"Most of the hacked sites are owned by NGOs and individuals who also highlight the Tibetan cause," Wangyal said.
Many suspect the hacking could have been the handiwork of the Chinese government, which has imposed censorship on Internet giant Google and left out or distorted topics like 'democracy' and on the Dalai Lama - the Tibetan spiritual head.
But the Tibetan government-in-exile's official website hasn't been hacked so far due to better security measures.
Thousands of Tibetans fled Tibet over 45 years ago after a failed uprising against the Chinese communist regime.
India is home to around 100,000 Tibetan refugees.