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720 Tibetans register to vote in coming Himachal Pradesh election

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(TibetanReview.net, Oct31’22) – Indian citizens in Himachal Pradesh, the state in which Dharamshala is located, will vote on Nov 12 to elect a new state legislature and government and some 720 eligible Tibetans living in the town have registered to take part in it, reported the tribuneindia.com Oct 31.

Dharamshala is home to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as well as the Tibetans’ exile administration known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

Although much more Tibetans are eligible to register to vote, the vast majority have opted to retain their status as foreigners living on temporary residential permits for fear of diluting their national identity and compromising their aspiration to return to Tibet when it regains its independence or otherwise achieves negotiated autonomy under Chinese rule.

The report quoted Kangra District Commissioner Nipun Jindal as saying all Tibetans born in India between Jan 26, 1950, and Jul 1, 1987, are eligible to be registered as voters in the country. This is in keeping with India’s citizenship law as recognized by several High Court rulings. The Election Commission of India in 2014 ordered state electoral bodies to register eligible Tibetans in their voters’ list.

Such eligible Tibetans include those born in India between Jul 1, 1987, and Dec 2, 2004, with one of their parents being an Indian citizen, the DC has added.

The latest census conducted in 2019 by the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) under the CTA’s Department of Home showed that the population of Tibetan refugees in India was 72,312 as of Dec 2020.

Around 7,300 of them live in Dharamshala, according to the https://centraltibetanreliefcommittee.net/ website of the CTA’s Home Department.

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