Speaker Penpa Tsering chooses to resign under murder allegations in the Parliament
DHARAMSALA, Mar 19: Speaker of the tibetan Parliament, Penpa Tsering today announced that he would resign from the post when a Member of the Parliament made murder allegations against him.
Minutes before the end of the morning session on the fourth day of budget session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for the financial year 2015-16, Ven Tenpa Yangphel, Member of Parliament representing Kargyue tradition of Tibetan Buddhism alleged that just as there are people in the society who indulge in corruption, personalization of public property and murder, there are certain MPs in the current Tibetan Parliament who have committed similar acts in the past, though he did not mention the names of the MPs he was referring to.
“As I was told by the Speaker that if I cannot prove the claims that I made the other day, it would be removed from the recorded minutes of the Parliament, I would like to say a few words. I sought for permission to explain it yesterday but it was denied. I would like to put forth what I recognize as proof. The words I’ve spoken are being altered by various people but it is there in the records of the Department of Information and International Relations. The words I have used were people who indulge in “privatization of public property”, “corruption” and “murder”. I said these are happening in the very society where His Holiness is residing and it is happening in this Parliament. Regarding the first claim, despite the Supreme Justice Commission’s ruling that public property has been personalized, the person who committed the act is in this Parliament. I recognize that as evidence. The second one I spoke about was people who indulge in corruption which exist in the society and it exists within the walls of this Parliament. During the 15th Parliament, due to corruption committed by a sitting MP from Domey, we had a by-election. Third one is people who indulge in murder. It happened in our Tibetan community recently in Majnukatilla, Delhi. It’s still fresh in our memory. Similarly, it can be said that such people are also in this Parliament. During the 13th Parliament-in-Exile, the person who was not allowed to become a Kalon (Cabinet Minister) is present in this Parliament. I recognize this as a evidence. The other thing is the way the Speaker said he is going to withdraw my statements from the minutes of the Parliament. He said that he is going to withdraw it on the orders received from the Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet). But when I made the statement, why didn’t the members of the Kashag respond and speak up as there were present here. Members of the Kashag had all the opportunity, medium and platform; why didn’t they use the seats provided in the Parliament to say it. If they have to say it through someone else, then, they could have stayed among the observers. Where would this kind of pulling strings from the back lead us. If we are not allowed to express the decaying nature of our society in the Parliament, what kind of democracy do we have? Democaracy based on restraint, democracy based on sycophancy. These days, even the Chinese government publishes articles on corruption. If we are not allowed to express about it, on what basis do we have the right to ridicule China,” Yangphel said.
Yangphel’s insinuations were directed at Dawa Tsering, MP from U-Tsang and founder of Yongling Kindergarten in Mcleod Ganj for privatization of public property, Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, former MP from Domey, who resigned on corruption charges and Speaker Penpa Tsering for murder.
When Speaker Tsering requested Yangphel to apply restraint and speak responsibly in the Parliament, he replied, “I have not spoken a single word irresponsibly; rather it is you who speaks irresponsibly.”
Following Yangphel’s allegations, Speaker Tsering stood up from his chair and addressed the Parliament.
“All the Parliamentarians know very well what is allowed and what is not allowed for discussion in the Parliament, especially the fact that what we speak here could not be challenged in the Indian courts. I believe some are taking advantage of this fact,” he said and added,
“In this Parliament, someone has alleged that the Speaker is a murderer. A Member of Parliament is saying that the Speaker, despite having been nominated for the post of Kalon, was unable to become a Kalon in 2003 because of murder allegations. The MP, admittedly, said that he takes full responsibility for the statement. If someone has the courage to make such statements, I request him to do it outside the Parliament. Then I, Penpa Tsering, will make sure that I challenge it in any court of law because when the allegations were first made by another MP, I couldn’t react out of respect for the rules and regulations of the Parliament. I told that MP to make the statement outside the Parliament but he didn’t say it neither in the media nor anywhere else. If the statements were made outside the Parliament I would have challenged it in any court of law. In the next Parliament, I stood up and gave an explanation on the issue. Murder is a serious allegation to make against any person. One should think carefully before saying it. By combining personalization of public property, corruption and murder the other day, today allegations of murder are being made against the Speaker. Therefore, when such allegations are being made I don’t find any other way but to resign from the responsibilities of the Speaker.”
Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel oversaw the proceedings of the Parliament in the afternoon.
Earlier, while discussing the budget of the Tibetan Judiciary for the coming year, several MPs raised the issue of “personalization of public property” referring to a case in 2001 about the ownership of Yongling Kindergarten that was brought before the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, which on Sep 24, 2004 decided that the school belonged to the Tibetan community and not to Dawa Tsering.
Dawa Tsering later filed a defamation case at the Shimla High Court. The case was referred to the District Court in Dharamsala which concurred with the earlier decision made by the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission and ruled that the property belonged to the Tibetan community.
This is the ninth session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and is being held from Mar 16 to 28.
Click here to watch the video of the morning session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEOsSKZClPE