By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, July 5: Defying earlier media reports of possible deportation of a group of Tibetans, a high ranking Indian police official in Dharamshala told Phayul that the Tibetans were summoned to report at the Foreigner’s Registration Office and will not be forced back to Tibet.
“These 382 Tibetans were called to report at our office in order to renew their legal permits to stay in India,” Additional Superintendent of Police, Nihal Chand told Phayul. “They will not at all be deported back to Tibet.”
Officials added that 92 out of the 382 Tibetans have failed to report by June 30 as per Home Ministry orders.
Secretary of the Department of Security of the Central Tibetan Administration, Ngodup Dorjee said that the Tibetan bureau office in Delhi had earlier approached the Indian External Ministry and already secured a permission letter regarding the renewal of the stay permits of the troubled group of people.
“The 382 Tibetans will not be deported,” Dorjee told Phayul. “We have already received the permission letter from the External Ministry and we are in the process of approaching the Home Ministry, which will then inform the concerned offices regarding the extension of the stay permits.”
“Like all of us, these Tibetans have also come to India to escape Chinese brutality in Tibet. Some of them are former political prisoners whose lives will be in great risk if deported back to Tibet.”
Tibetan refugees arriving into India via Nepal are issued Special Entry Permits by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu against four specified purposes of education, pilgrimage, meeting relatives, and other purposes.
Tibetans entering India under the permit for education are allowed extension of stay by competent offices depending on their wish to continue their education; however those entering India for pilgrimage are allowed only a month-long stay in India.
“Concerning the case of around 400 newly arrived Tibetan refugees who came for pilgrimage, we have raised it several times with the Indian government through the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Delhi,” Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay had told reporters in April.
The legal document regulating the residential permit of Tibetans in India called “Registration Certificate” is essential to obtain work, rent an apartment, open a bank account, and obtain other legal documents such as driving license and Identity Certificates, which are necessary for international travel.
All Tibetans living in India above 16 years of age are required to register for an RC.
Following orders from New Delhi, Indian offices have now started renewing the RCs for a period of five years for Tibetans who were born in India or have lived in India for 20 or more years.
Earlier, RCs were extended only for six months or one year, depending on the locality.