By Tenzin Dharpo
cartoon by Tenzin Dorjee, activist
DHARAMSHALA, Dec.29: The recent row between the Tibetan Youth Congress Centrex and its New York/New Jersey chapter, over the temporary closure of the chapter has become a concern for many Tibetans in the exile community spread across the world.
The axed RTYC NY/NJ President Ngawang Palden issued a statement followed by a voting by the members of the particular chapter to ascertain the mandate of members to the TYC HQ’s pronouncement earlier this month on Dec.16.
In a video circulating on the Internet, Ngawang Palden, who many people allege of being the main cause of this controversy, is seen issuing a statement at the ‘emergency public meeting’ on Dec.26 organized by some of the executive members of the closed NY/NJ RTYC. He expressed that the RTYC NY/NJ has stood on its member’s mandate and that it is imperative that the chapter be absolved of any ideological and personal agendas. “The foundation on which the organization is formed is to further the public’s mandate which over the years have been diluted and marginalized. We are not claiming that the TYC setup is at fault here. Rather, we are saying that the executives that handle the administration are at fault here,” he said.
“Since the time we were elected as executives, we have maintained that we will follow the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the official position of the Central Tibetan Administration and nothing else,” added Palden.
Phayul reached the Tibetan Youth Congress head quarters but could not get a statement. “The TYC Centrex is still working on the issue,” said a current executive member.
Poet and activist Tenzin Tsundue, who served as RTYC Dharamshala president for two terms, said, “Only if we take a step back and look at the larger picture will we realize that both the political goals are driven by the same motive to champion the cause of Tibet.”
However, he pointed out that the defection by some RTYCs to alienate from the TYC’s position of independence is not just about ideological differences. “But the defection by some of the RTYCs is not an ideological debate -wish it was- but a petty attempt to appropriate the majoritarian loyalty, sadly in the name our most beloved and respected leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Division of TYC can never be His Holiness's wish, at all.” He added.
The NY/NJ RTYC convened an emergency meeting following the TYC centrex’s decision. The results of the voting showed an overwhelming backlash to the decision of the Centrex; out of the 360 people who voted, 342- voted against the TYC (Centrex) decision while 16- voted to support the TYC (Centrex) decision and 2- Blank votes were cast. However, sources say that not all those 360 people present were RTYC members but included many who are not associated with the TYC.
During the 2013 Working Committee meeting, eight RTYCs – Bengaluru, Bylakuppe, Mundgod, Hunsur, Kollegal, Dalhousie, Pandoh and Ladakh demanded that TYC change its stand of independence to Middle Way Approach, the official position of the Central Tibetan Administration. This led to their expulsion as members in 2014 for ‘violation of TYC’s rules and regulations’.
The largest pro-independence group of the Tibetan Diaspora, many say, has been crippled by internal controversies since the past few years.
Noted Tibetan political activist associated with the Students for a Free Tibet, Tenzin Dorjee, called it a “cancerous conflict” that has advanced to a stage where it is “poisoning the whole of our society and arresting the entire movement..” He writes in the caption of his cartoon on the issue on his Facebook. “…Although TYC is an NGO, it seems to me that the time has come for the Tibetan government to step in and intervene, before TYC completely implodes and the CCP pops champagne. I've known that many conscientious leaders in Dharamsala are deeply concerned about the future of TYC. Our government may be the only entity that can resolve this crisis, and benign neglect may be viewed in hindsight as an abdication of responsibility. Here are some questions we must answer: Is it ok for non-members of TYC to decide the fate of the organization? Is it ok for local associations to interfere in TYC's internal matters? Is it ethical for anti-Rangzen people to infiltrate a pro-Rangzen organization with the express goal of changing its mission?"