Call for freedom awaits Tibetans in Uttarakhand

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Dehra Dun, Mar 15 (UNI) For Psering, (name changed) opening the shutter of his small shop is no less than a blessing.

As a Tibetan living in Dehra Dun, he knows that surviving the pangs of instability is a herculean task, particularly for his people who are still fighting for their country's sovereignty.

Situated in Parade Ground area, the Tibetan market stretches through a narrow lane, greeted by the fragrance of somber momos and an occasional bowl of noodle soup perfected by the swirl of wooden chopsticks.

The market seems oblivious to the local crowd, in as much the same way as in the eyes of the international community.

Psering is aware of his fellowmen leading the 'March to Freedom' to commemorate the year 1959, when Tibetans led the failed uprising against China which forced their Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile.

''This area was handed over to us after many consolations with the government'', Psering says while assembling the piles of clothes lining the comparatively restricted dimensions of his shop.

''We have a 'pradhan' who handles the everyday affairs of all the shopowners. As of now, this shop is registered in my name but I do not own it. The moment I decide to take a vacation and lock the shop, the keys will be given to the next in line in the waiting list. So it is only safer to keep the shop registered in my name, as I cannot buy it,'' he adds.

To curious onlookers, the market is camaflouged by Tibetan men draped in their traditional red attire and women filling bottles of water in their long skirts.

''Neither the previous government nor the present government has done anything for the cause of Tibetans living in the state,'' he says adding that ''We are not even allowed to vote.'' Psering is one of the 15,000 odd Tibetans who are settled in Dehra Dun. Though he considers himself ''lucky'' that he is able to take home enough bread and butter for his family, he lives on for the day when his people finally get an identity of their own.

UNI PB SK RN1446

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