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Tibetans yearn for their homeland on World Refugee Day

Saturday, 21 June 2014 - 6:45pm IST | Agency: ANI

The Tibetan refugees living in-exile in the north Indian hill town of Dharmashala expressed their emotions for their homeland on World Refugee Day on Friday.

The United Nations has declared the day to honor the strength, courage and determination of men, women and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Lobsang Tseten, a Tibetan refugee said, "Since most of Tibetans in India are all of refugee status; we cannot start our own business due to certain legal issues. We do not have legal documents to start our own factory or business so whatever you see in Dharmashala is running up small shops, selling small souvenirs and running small restraints this is how we Tibetans in Dharmashala earn our living. It always pains me because most of my brothers and sisters inside Tibet are still suffering under Chinese regime and it saddens me."

Dorjee Tseten, another Tibetan refugee in Dharamshala says, "I am a Tibetan refugee but born and brought up in India so as a refugee even no matter how much you like the place or culture but your mind and heart is always not settled here. We know that we belong to Tibetan and have to go back to Tibet. That is why I always feel myself that I am disconnected to my roots and my eager and willingness to back to Tibet is always very strong."

"We are deprived from our freedom, basic rights and our life has been threaten and many of Tibetans inside Tibet are still undergoing that hardship and that makes me very sad and that makes me feel to do more work for them to end their suffering and I always pray for my Tibetan brothers and sisters who are still suffering inside Tibet," Tseten added.

Lobsang Wangyal, a Tibetan in-exile here says, "Tibetans living in India with a state permit and we are guests and guests are not supposed to complain so that kind of status we have. I do not have access to basic rights but now recently I was able to vote, I voted for the first time since Tibetans came to India like more than fifty years ago. I do not have access to a passport, I am not able to buy land even if I have money and I have no scope to involve in the Indian government system so in a way it is total hardship."

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama along with other Tibetans had escaped to India in 1959 when there was a threat to life during occupation of Tibet by China. Since then Tibetans are living in-exile here and struggling for their homeland.

READ: Will the Dalai Lama's new 'middle way' approach narrow the China-Tibet divide?
Following decades of struggle, failed discussions, and even scores of deaths due to self immolation, the Tibetans in exile are taking a fresh approach to their demand for autonomy. Dubbed as the 'Middle Way Approach Campaign' (Umaylam in Tibetan), this is not only the Tibetan government-in-exile's most concentrated effort, but is also the most culturally aligned to the Buddhist ideologies that most Tibetans identify with. Read more

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