Thursday, 22 August 2013

Tibetans can seek Indian citizenship: Lobsang Sangay

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay
DHARAMSHALA: Tibetan government-in-exile Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay said on Wednesday that the Tibetans living in India could apply for the Indian citizenship and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) would help them by providing supporting documents.

This is the first time that the Tibetan government-in-exile has 'allowed' Tibetans to seek Indian citizenship.
"The CTA cannot prevent any Tibetan from applying for the Indian citizenship," Sangay said.

Namgyal Dolkar (25) was the first person of Tibetan origin to get an Indian citizenship after fighting a long battle in the Delhi high court in 2011. She was born in Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and brought up in Dehradun in Uttar Pradesh.

Many Tibetans are keen to get Indian citizenship but the government-in-exile has not said much about it. They didn't say much even after Dolkar was granted the Indian citizenship.

"The decision to apply for Indian or any other country's citizenship is a personal choice. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1986 grants citizenship rights to Tibetans born in India between 1950 and 1987," Sangay said.

"At the same time, the CTA cannot compel Tibetans to apply for the Indian citizenship," he added.

He further said that CTA issues bona fide Tibetan letters of support to those applying for citizenships in India and abroad. Sangay revealed that in last around two years, the CTA received 14 citizenship requests, all of which were cleared.

Sangay also expressed his gratitude to the Canadian government for accepting 1000 Tibetan refugees from Arunachal Pradesh as permanent residents under a special program.

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