Canadian govt sponsors immigration for Tibetans in Arunachal
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Canadian govt sponsors immigration for Tibetans in Arunachal

Tibetans living in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh bordering neighboring China could soon fly their way into Canada.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2010 17:52 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times

Tibetans living in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh bordering neighboring 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 program proposed for Tibetans.

Under proposed program, 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 Program 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 programs 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 guerilla 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 guerillas 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 30,000.

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 basis.

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.

First Published: Dec 19, 2010 17:47 IST