It is for the first time that Tibetans living in India will participate in assembly elections in India. They are all set to cast their vote for new government in Himachal Pradesh. Tibetans started registering themselves as voters during parliamentary elections. This time too new voters have registered for upcoming polls in the state. Officials said that about 300 new voters have been registered this time. This hill town is considered as the global capital of the Tibetan residents across the world. Voting rights to Tibetans were granted in 2014. There are mixed reactions from the community on the move. Majority of the Tibetans believe that Indian citizenship would affect their freedom movement. Tibetan government in exile has not put any restrictions on Tibetans in this regard stating that it’s a matter of personal choice.
There are about 1400 Tibetan voters in the state. Out of it 217 are from Dharamshala, while majority are from Bir-Billing area of Kangra district. There are about 1047 voters from Bir area. “There are total 1400 Tibetan voters in state according to the records available with us,” said Shravan Manta, Sub Divisional Magistrate at Dharamshala.
Other are of the view that those who have registered themselves as voters were forced to do this to get ease in documentation processes. According to the guidelines Tibetans born in India between 1950 to 1987 can apply for voting cards.