SIKKIM: Home Kalon Mr Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang concluded his official visit to Gangtok, Ravangla, Darjeeling, Sonada, Kalimpong and Salugara from 5-12 September 2016.
The visit took place primarily at the invitation of Federation of Tibetan Cooperatives in India (FTCI). Home Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang attended the inaugural function of the 16th Annual Conference of 15 Cooperative Societies at Ravangla Kunphenling Tibetan settlement as the Chief Guest on 7 September. Since 75 percent of the Tibetan settlements are covered under the 15 cooperatives; it is directly related to the livelihood and sustainability of settlements, therefore, placing extreme importance, he provided guidance on the future course of action of the FTCI to improve coordination between CTA and FTCI.
On the sidelines of the conference, he also followed up on the implementation of the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy Act 2014 formulated by the Government of India in respective Indian states where Tibetans are settled.
In this regard, he met with the Chief Administrator Smt Rinchen Ongmu (Rtd. IAS and former Chief Secretary) Government of Sikkim on 6 September; and discussed and urged for the implementation of the policy at the earliest. The response was positive and she assured that the state government is very forth coming with the implementation of the policy.
He further requested an appointment with the Chief Minister of West Bengal but due to a busy schedule, the meeting had to be postponed.
Followed by the visit to Ravangla Kunphenling Tibetan settlement and the adjoining scattered clusters of tibetan settlements in Darjeeling and Sonada, he visited Manjushree Center of Tibetan Culture, Darjeeling and Kalimpong on 10 and Salugara on the 11 September respectively. He acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in these areas and updated the general Tibetan public on current issues related to Tibet and 15 Kashag’s policies and guidelines.
Addressing the general public, students and the heads of the community, Home Kalon highlighted that four generations of Tibetans have grown up as refugees in India who has offered extraordinary hospitality to the Tibetan refugees since 1959. He reminded that Tibetans should not forget the just cause of restoring freedom. “Our brothers and sisters in Tibet are sacrificing their precious lives, with 144 self immolations with an aspiration for freedom, return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and unity among Tibetans. Its time to make more efforts and every one must do their part,” he said.
“The situation today is very different, even though we remain as exiles, unable to return, with no way of knowing how long we must wait to see our country again. However, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has often reminded us that we must hope for the best, and prepare for the worst,” Kalon said, highlighting the 5-50 strategy of the 15th Kashag headed by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay.
“Even if we have to stay for another 50 years in India as exiles, the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014 formulated by the Government of India is a very important and effective document solving our problems. The Government of India and the respective state Governments have been very grateful,” he added.
He also spoke on the chronology of events on how the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014 was formulated by the Government of India; with the 14th Kashag, Kasur Gyari Dolma as the Home Kalon then, himself as the Home Secretary, Department of Home staff and Delhi Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama worked tirelessly in finalising the policy draft.
He recalled the famous John F. Kennedy quote “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” He stressed on the importance to maintain unity and provide better education to sustain our movement and fulfill the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Following the talk, Kalon answered questions from the public and clarified the doubts that they expressed.
– Report filed by Department of Home –