Indian-Born Tibetans Allowed to Vote, but Few Take Up Offer

DHARAMSALA, India — This year marks the first election in which Indian-born Tibetan refugees have the right to vote, but as the state of Himachal Pradesh, including the residents of this shady hill station, went to the polls on Wednesday, there were few Tibetans among them.

“It is magnanimous on the part of the Indian government to recognize the Tibetans as natural citizens as they, like me, are born in India,” Tenzin Tsundue, 40, a poet-activist, said sardonically.

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“But the announcement doesn’t really suit the political reality,” he continued. “We are legally foreigners — though sentimentally we call ourselves refugees — subject to various restrictions on something as basic as movement within India and ownership of properties. How then can a foreigner take part in the Indian elections?”

Read the full piece published on the India Ink blog of The New York Times here.

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