Mumbai, July 3: More than 40 exile Tibetans have been arrested and detained at Marine Drive police station in Mumbai. The protestors - all members of the Tibetan Youth Congress - were detained for staging a demonstration outside the Chinese consulate against the operation of Chinese railway line in Tibet. today's demonstration was, in the words of TYC Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tsering Dhondup targetted at "the arrival of the controversial Qinghai-Tibet railway from Beijing to Lhasa and an assertion that protest activities against the railway will continue for some time to come".
The brief protest outside the consulate which lasted for around 25 minutes before the protestors were packed off in two police trucks was an eventful one. As the majority of TYC members protested outside the building which houses the Chinese consulate in addition to those of France and Switzerland, 4 other members led by the TYC vice president Lobsang Yeshi entered the consulate building in a bid to submit a memorandum addressed to the Chinese consular, Mr. Song Deheng. Two other members had climbed the walls of a building adjacent to the consulate and hanged a giant banner that read: "FREE TIBET". The banner was positioned well across the Chinese consulate's office.
In the commotion that followed, some policemen who were already stationed inside the complex apprehended the 4 members including TYC vice president and stopped them from submitting the memorandum. Additional forces were called in to stop the protest from gaining momentum and then the trucks arrived. The arrested Tibetans were later taken to the Marine Drive police station where they are currently being detained. It is not immediately known how long they will be detained but there is a strong possibility that the detention might not last long because the authorities do not want to see a repitition of the indefinite hunger strike in progress in Delhi's Tihar Jail where the 50 Tibetans arrested on June 26 announced the strike in detention. A repitition of Tihar incident by those detained in Mumbai in the event of a prolonged detention will only make matters difficult to handle for the authorities.