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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

No action on benami* properties of Tibetans

July 31, 2009

(Note: Benami purchases are purchases in false name of another person,
who does not pay the consideration but merely lends his name, while the
real title vests in another person who actually purchased the property
and he is the beneficial owner. Most Tibetans in India are not able to
legally acquire land. )

FROM THE TRIBUNE-Bhagsu, July 28: The government is dithering to take
action over the benami properties owned by the Tibetans in Mcleodganj
and other surrounding areas of Kangra district.

The DC till 2005 had declared 74 major properties owned by Tibetans as
benami. He had ordered transfer of these properties in the name of the
government as per the provisions of Section 118 of Land Tenancy Act.

As per the information, some of the properties of the Tibetans that have
been declared as benami include the Institute of Dialectics at
Mcleodganj, the Norbulinka and Kirti monasteries. The property was
purchased in the name of Dev Raj Negi, Budhibalraj Singh, Satya Dev Negi
and other unknown farmers of the state. However, later the Tibetan
institute came up on the land.

There were 74 such properties that were purchased in the name of unknown
farmers and later Tibetan institutes or establishment came up on them.
The respective collectors declared all these properties as benami.

However, on the request from the Tibetan administration here the
government in 2006 issued a notification that all benami properties
under control of the Tibetans before 2005 should be given on lease to
the Dalai Lama society for a period of 50 years. However, in case the
Dalai Lama moved out from the state the properties would once again be
vested in the state government.

Though the notification was issued in 2006, it was yet to be
implemented. However, even after that period the Tibetans have purchased
large numbers benami properties in and around Dharamsala. Presently, 34
cases are pending before the DC in which it has been alleged that the
Tibetans have bought benami properties.

In the recent past, the income tax authorities had also collected data
regarding the benami properties purchased by Tibetans in and around
Dharamsala. They are likely to initiate proceedings against the
benamiowners of these properties on which the Tibetan institutions have
come up.

Kangra Deputy Commissioner RS Gupta admitted that 34 fresh cases of
‘benami’ purchase of properties were pending. Regarding the transfer of
old encroachments in name of the Dalai Lama society, he said nothing had
been done on 2006 notification as yet.

He said first all the 74 properties that were declared benami before
2005 would have to be transferred in the name of the government. They
could be given on lease to the Dalai Lama society only in case they
applied for it later.

In case they do not apply for lease eviction proceeding could be started
against them, the Deputy Commissioner said.
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