Union demands verification of Tibetan refugees enjoying ‘double benefit’

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Jul 20: Claiming that 14 Tibetans in West Kameng district are availing the benefits of both ST certificates and refugee cards, the All West Kameng District Students’ Union (AWKDSU) has demanded that the state government constitute a committee to “verify” those refugees.
The union said it is not against the settlement of Tibetan refugees in the district, so long as they are availing government benefits as refugees. It said it would not allow the refugees to enjoy the benefits of both ST certificates and refugee cards.
“We are not resorting to using the ‘Refugee go back’ slogan, nor are we against their settlement (in the designated area) in the district; what we want is for the refugees availing double benefit to be verified and identified,” AWKDSU vice-president Steven Jebel Sichisow told a press conference at the press club here on Friday.
The union claimed that out of 123 Tibetan refugees settled in West Kameng, 14 are suspected of using both ST certificates and refugee cards. The AWKDSU has served a 15-day ultimatum to the district administration to constitute a fact-finding committee to verify these refugees. It is also demanding immediate cancellation of the ST certificates and land allotments given to them.
“We cannot share our indigenous rights with refugees. They should not enjoy benefits of refugees and Scheduled Tribes,” said AARSU general secretary David Jebisow, who also addressed the media.
The AWKDSU later issued a threat to the authority concerned, saying failure to verify the persons in question would force the union to resort to democratic action.