By Phayul Stringer
Nepali police disrupting a Tibetan cultural performance in Kathmandu on September 29, 2011. (Photo/Tsewang Dolma)
KATHMANDU, October3: In a move that has further brought into light the increasing restrictions on Tibetans in Nepal, police on Thursday disrupted a cultural show organised by a Kathmandu based Tibetan opera group.
The Tibetan Opera Association (Lhamo Tsokpa) had just begun performing at the Rastriya Nach Ghar in the capital when a group of policemen entered the hall and barred the performers from continuing the program. The police said they were acting as per orders from the Central District Administrative Office (CDO).
This is not the first time when Nepali authorities disrupted Tibetan cultural performances.
"It clearly shows that the Nepali government is under extreme pressure from China to monitor Tibetans closely and prohibit them from mass gathering. It is sad that we as refugees are not even free to organise a cultural show," laments Tsewang Dolma, President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Kathmandu.
The group which spent months preparing for Thursday's show is clearly disappointed.
"All we wanted was to present our cultural songs and dance. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Opera group and we wanted to celebrate this with our audience,” says Tashi Tseten, President of Lhamo Tsokpa.
However, this hasn’t discouraged the group from planning such programs in the future.
“There is no doubt that whatever we do will be hindered. But that doesn’t me we stop trying. Our association is dedicated to preserving the age-old Tibetan opera and we will continuously work towards bringing such programs to our audience,” says Tseten.
Earlier this year, Tibetans were barred from attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations while on September 2, which is marked as Democracy Day by Tibetans, police were posted in all the Tibetan settlement areas in the capital to prevent mass gathering of Tibetans.