Dharamsala, Feb 23 – Five Tibetan refugees crossing into Nepal from Tibet have been handed over to Nepalese police by cadres of the Maoists Party’s youth wing. The cadres of Young Communist League (YCL), an affiliate of the ruling Maoist party, caught them yesterday from Sindhupal chowk district in the east of Kathmandu, according to reports. YCL is notorious for taking law into its hands.
Police have told reporters that the five Tibetans, including two women, crossed into Nepal illegally from China and that they “might have entered Nepal to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising by Tibetans against the Chinese authorities on March 28.”
Tibetan right groups in India called the reports ‘ridiculous’, and said the Maoists are sensationalizing the Tibetans’ flight to Nepal, a transit for Tibetans escaping Chinese atrocities, by calling them activists planning to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising.
“Tibetans are against the celebration of the so called Serf Emancipation Day which is a mere propaganda of the Chinese government. China would gladly allow Tibetans to mark this day and the Nepalese government would be rebuked by China if they arrested Tibetans who traveled to Nepal to mark the day. These reports do not make any sense. These people are just another group of refugees fleeing Tibet to reach India via Nepal,” said Tenzin Choeying of Students for a Free Tibet.
The arrest comes ahead of a visit to Kathmandu by the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Liu Jieyi, on 28 February.
Tibetan right groups say the arrest is nothing more than the usual appeasement policy of the Nepalese government to keep China happy.
Nepal had come under international criticism last year for its brutal treatment of Tibetan protesters apparently under pressure from China.
Police said the Tibetans will be handed over to immigration authorities.
Every year, many Tibetans escape via Nepal to India. Tibetan Centre for Human Rights said that there was a sharp decline in the number of Tibetan refugees arriving in India via Nepal since the March uprising of 2008. As against the usual figure of around 2000 refugees a year, only 627 Tibetans have entered India in 2008, it said, adding that majority of them had reached India in the year prior to the March uprising.