By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Dec 11: Tibetan refugees holding Indian passport can surrender their Indian Passport and revert their refugee status without having to pay any penalty, the Indian Government has said according to media reports.
Growing reluctance among the Tibetan refugees holding Indian passport to forego benefits and privileges from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) under New rules issued by the Indian Government’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has prompted the Indian government to announce its move according to a report on Hindustan Times.
“If a Tibetan refugee wants to surrender (passport), they can do it without facing any trouble, including any penalty, and they will be then issued their identity certificate,” the report said citing a government official.
So far, around 30 requests were received for cancellation of passports from Tibetans, te government official has stated in the report.
There was some case where Tibetans held both the Identity Certificate(IC), a travel document issued by the Indian government that allows Tibetans to travel abroad and the Indian passport that is not permitted under the law, an official stated in the report and added those wishing to reclaim their identity cards will need to surrender their passports.
“There are some cases where a passport holder who also kept the IC. That is against the rule. They can opt for either of the document. There was never any talk of any penalty,” another official was quoted as saying in the report.
India’s MEA issued a direction earlier in March this year identical with a Delhi court order of 2016, which stated that any Tibetan born in India on or after Jan 26, 1950 but before Jul 1, 1987 should be issued Indian passport as they are Indian citizen by birth according to the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955.