Inside the sprawling Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, life goes on as usual, almost untouched by the poll fever that has the rest of Karnataka in its grips. The last State Assembly elections in Karnataka were held in 2013, a year before the Election Commission (EC) made way for children of Tibetan refugees to be included in the electoral rolls. A large number of Tibetans in exile in the three settlements at Bylakuppe and Hunsur in Karnataka would have had their first shot at exercising their right to vote in the 2018 State Assembly elections. But the Periyapatna taluk administration, under which fall the two (old and new) Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe, and the Gurupura settlement in Hunsur, said they had “not been approached by anyone from the community to be enrolled as voters”.
“Until now, people of Tibetan origin born in India have not approached us for voter IDs. This is also because they have not taken citizenship, as a result of which there is no question of voting rights. Because of this, their identity status is still that of refugees,” said a senior official from the Periyapatna taluk administration.
According to official estimates, there are 11,037 Tibetans in the old settlement in Bylakuppe, 4,357 in the new one, and 2,206 in Gurupura, totalling up to over 17,500 persons. This number excludes monks. The Bylakuppe settlement, officials said, is the biggest in India. The Central Tibetan Administration lists five settlements in south India in all: the two in Bylakuppe, the one in Hunsur, and one each in Kollegal and Mundgod, with populations of 4,171 and 13,400 respectively.
Full Article: Tibetans can vote but won’t – The Hindu.