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Canada sponsors immigration for Tibetans in Arunachal

December 26, 2010

By Gaurav Bisht

DHARAMSHALA, India, 19 December 2010 (Hindustan Times)

Buddhist monks watch a cultural programme on the last day of teaching
sessions by their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Tawang in the
northeastern Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh on 11 November 2009.File
photo/Reuters/Adnan Abidi/India

Tibetans living in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh bordering
neighbouring China could soon fly their way into Canada. Government of
Canada has agreed to facilitate immigration of Tibetans living in
Arunachal Pradesh. Canadian government’s initiative came following the
request from Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to settle
Tibetans inhabiting remote areas, many of them inaccessible by roads.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama had been moved by the plight of Tibetan
exiles inhabiting the remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh which are
underdeveloped as compared to other settlements in India,” senior
bureaucrat in Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at its headquarters
here told Hindustan Times while he confirmed Canadian government latest
immigration programme proposed for Tibetans.

Under proposed programme, Canadian government would facilitate
immigration of at least 1000 Tibetans refugees from Aruanchal Pradesh in
next five years. Sources say that soon the Canadian government would
work out on immigration process with Indian government in consultation
with Dalai Lama’s Tibetan government-in-exile.

There are 39 Tibetan settlements across India, and three of them are
located in Arunachal Pradesh which includes Bomdila, Tezu Tenzingang.

All the three are located on route followed by Dalai Lama to enter India
after he escaped from Tibet when Chinese troops marched into Lhasa in
1959. Estimated 80,000 Tibetans followed Dalai Lama to India. Dalai Lama
who was conferred with Nobel Prize for peace seeks more autonomy the
China administered Tibet.

This is not the first time Canada has assisted Tibetans. In 1972, Canada
established the Tibetan Refugee Programme and resettled approximately
230 Tibetans in Canada who had been living in Northern India. Tibetan
officials say that government of Canada will develop special
immigration. “Tibetans selected under would require to meet Canada’s
requirements for immigration, including security, criminal, medical and
background checks” said an official.

Canadian government offer came three years after Nepalese government
rejected United States sponsored immigration program for Tibetans.
United States program had hit the road block, as the coalition
government led by Maoist refused to grant exit visa to the Tibetans
living in Nepal.

“American programmes had suffered set back as Nepalese government became
reluctant to give exit visa to exiles” said CTA’s Cabinet Secretary
Migyur Dorje.

The Bush administration had offered to settle as many as 1000 Tibetans
exiles, particularly those whose kins had participated in American
sponsored covert guerrilla war against Chinese led from Mustang in Nepal.

Covert war met an abrupt end when the Dalai Lama sent a recorded message
in 1972 appealing the guerrillas warriors to give up weapons, many of
them offended committed suicide and other took up petty professions like
working on the roadside. It is estimated that at least 20,000 Tibetans
are currently living in Nepal, but the actual number could be well over

Of these, less than 20,000 are believed to have Registration certificate
and new regulations enforced by Nepalese government is making it
increasingly difficult for exiles to obtain and renew RC’s on an annual

Nepal stopped allowing Tibetan refugees to settle in its land following
diplomatic pressure after a flood of refugees fled in the wake of the
1987-89 Lhasa protests.
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