Build harmony with Indians, Tibetans told (World Refugee Day)

June 20th, 2011 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, June 20 (IANS) The new prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile admits to problems between Tibetans and locals in Dharamsala and wants “better communication” between the two sides.

Lobsang Sangay, however, underlined that the hiccups between the local communities and Tibetans were “minor” in nature and urged his compatriots to respect the Indian law.

“Obviously, better communication between the two sides is fundamental in developing a constructive relationship between Indians and Tibetans,” Sangay told IANS on World Refugee Day Monday.

“Having said that, the relationship between the two communities has been very harmonious, if not exemplary, over the past five decades.

“Though some minor problems are inevitable, it would also be helpful if we could educate the Tibetan residents that they be mindful not to violate the law of the land,” the 42-year-old said.

He was replying to a question on purchase of land in and around Dharamsala, allegedly in violation of land rules of Himachal Pradesh, leading to acrimony between the locals and the exiles.

Himachal land laws do not permit outsiders to buy land in the state.

Sangay said that making Tibetans self-reliant was his mantra.

“Self-reliance of the exiles is one of the three main policies of my administration,” the new Kalon Tripa (prime minister), said in an interview.

“It’s true that the Tibetan community (in exile) has done relatively well over the past five decades. While we started out from very humble beginnings, we need to learn to gradually stand on our own feet.”

Sangay, who will assume office in August, said the other main policies of his administration would be “unity” and “innovation”.

He expressed concern over Chinese policies periling the rich Tibetan culture in Tibet.

“The key challenges facing the Tibetan people right now are in preserving our rich linguistic, religious and cultural traditions which have come under assault from the Chinese policies inside Tibet,” he said.

Sangay, who has spent the past 15 years at Harvard University, has plans to check the poor growth rate of Tibetans-in-exile.

“We could provide economic incentives for families with more children so that the population growth rate is maintained,” he said.

Born in 1968 in India, Sangay did his early education from a refugee school in Darjeeling and studied law from Delhi University before moving for doctoral studies in Harvard.

He is often quoted as saying, “India is my second home. I have never been to my first home (Tibet).”

He was chosen in the third direct elections for the Kalon Tripa held March 20. He will succeed Samdhong Rinpoche.

According to a report, the population of Tibetans outside Tibet stood at 127,935, comprising 70,556 males and 57,379 females.

“There are 94,203 Tibetans living in India, 13,514 in Nepal, 1,298 in Bhutan and 18,920 elsewhere,” said the report.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Communist rule in 1959. His Tibetan government-in-exile is based here.

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