Allow them to March to Tibet

India should have allowed Tibetan refugees to approach the border

Over a hundred Tibetan refugees, led by the indefatigable Tenzin Tsundue wanted to March to Tibet this week. Indian authorities stopped them at Dehra Bridge, not too far away from Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile. The only reason for this was to save the Chinese government from the embarassment of having to deal with the situation (most likely, having to turn them back).

This was a bad move.

Not because it prevented a bunch of peaceful demonstrators from protesting. But because it should not have spared the Chinese government from potential embarrassment. Legally, there’s no reason to prevent refugees from going back to their home country. It should have been up to the Chinese government to allow them to enter, and march to Lhasa, or to turn them back. Such a move would not have violated any of India’s stated positions on the issue of Tibet’s independence.

The Indian government is probably under the impression that stopping the march will be interpreted as a favour by China. Calling it back, though, is totally another story. Moreover, to prevent a favour from being seen as an entitlement, it is necessary sometimes not to do the favour.

Related Link: A saffron revolution of sorts has begun, inside Tibet.