Globe-trotting Tibetan runs into customs wall in India

September 24th, 2010 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Dharamsala, Sep 24 (IANS) A globe-trotting Tibetan from the US has hit the ‘great wall’ with the Indian customs at Chennai as he entered India to complete the last leg of his 22-nation tour for the Tibetan cause.

Lhakpa Tsering, who started his journey from the UN office in New York March 10 (Tibetan national uprising anniversary day) this year, has been cooling his heels with the customs authorities at Chennai port where his BMW 1200 GS motorbike is not being cleared for “want of proper documents”.

The motorcycle was shipped to India from Australia, where Tsering completed the previous leg of his journey to create awareness about the plight of Tibetans in Tibet.

“I have the motorcycle passport with me. I did not face this problem in any other country. I have tried my best to seek help from all quarters to get the motorcycle released. The Tibetan office (in Dharamsala) is also trying to help. I hope they release my motorcycle soon to let me complete my world tour,” Lhakpa Tsering told IANS on phone from Chennai.

Tsering, who migrated from India to the US in 1995, says he has now got a letter from the chambers of commerce in New Delhi and submitted the documents to the customs authorities in Chennai to secure the release of his motorcycle.

“I am having a huge problem with the documents. There won’t release my motorcycle. I will use all my resources and I will try my best not to leave India until I finish my tour,” an anguished Tsering wrote on his website Sep 20.

Seeking help from anyone, Tsering pointed out that the customs officials were seeking $18,000 (Rs.825,000) as deposit to release his motorcycle.

Born in exile in India after his parents fled Tibet, Tsering and his six siblings found themselves to be orphans. His mother passed away within six months of his birth. His father, being too poor, donated the children to the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) in Dharamsala. His father also died later.

Brought up and educated at TCV school, Tsering volunteered for the Tibetan cause in India and Nepal. In 1995, he migrated to the US and is now working in the private sector.

“I have left my family behind (in the US) during my world tour. I saved money and generated resources to embark on this trip for the Tibetan cause. I want to make people aware worldwide about the suffering of Tibetans in Tibet under Chinese occupation. I want to show that Tibetans living in exile are also trying to highlight their plight,” Tsering said.

The Tibetan volunteer now just wants to get back on his motorcycle to complete his journey at Dharamsala by the end of October.

“I plan to go through Bangalore, Bylakuppe (the largest Tibetan settlement in India in Karnataka), Hosur, Mumbai, Delhi and other places before reaching Dharamsala. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) there,” Tsering said.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetan settlers. Dharamsala is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile.

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