By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 9: Tibetan refugees holding Indian voter ID cards have been directed by the police to surrender their Registration Certificate (RC) the primary identity document for Tibetans living in India, within a month by Indian authorities.
The Superintendent of Police, Kangra District, has sent a circular to Tibetan settlements and collectives in Dharamshala and Bir area on Feb. 3, directing Tibetan refugees who hold both the Voter ID and RC, to submit RC within a month to Foreigner’s Registration Office (FRO).
The SP office has sent the circulars to Tibetan settlements in McLeod Ganj, Bir Tibetan Society, Nangchen division, Dege division and Tashi Jong Tibetan camp, falling under Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
The SP office cited that the issue of Tibetan refugees holding electoral card without surrendering their RC was raised by the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs through official channels to HP government.
The official letter stated that Tibetans holding Indian voter ID registered for the same on their own accord. It stated, “Around 1000 Tibetan refugees have registered themselves as voters and exercised their voting rights in the State Assembly Elections and 296 Tibetan refugees have exercised their franchise without surrendering their RC’s.”
“The possession of registration Certificate indicates their foreign status whereas the acquisition of Indian Voter ID card would enable them to prove their Indian identities, which have security implication,” the official circular further stated.
In November last year, 515 Tibetans registered to vote at the Bhagsu polling booth. Reports said there are around 1,000 eligible Tibetan voters in the Dharamshala region alone.