By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, February 15: The three-day dead line issued by the Chinese government to Tibetan officials who have been on leave for pilgrimage ended yesterday.
In the dead line issued on Sunday, the Chinese government had warned Tibetan officials on leave, of harsh punishments if they failed to return to their homes in three days.
The warning came after hundreds of Tibetans, who were returning from pilgrimage to India and Nepal were arrested and are currently being detained on unclear charges.
"The Chinese government has warned Tibetan officials in Chinese occupied Tibet of serious actions and harsh punishments if they failed to return home before February 15," Kalsang Gyaltsen, a Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said.
The parliamentarian also said Chinese security personnel recently raided a meditation monastery near the Tibetan capital Lhasa and expelled more than two dozen of its monks the same day.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration had earlier reported that a group of returning pilgrims was whisked away on a train bound for China.
Chinese security forces had surrounded the Tibetan pilgrims at a railway station in Lhasa on January 31 and forcibly took them away on a train bound for China. Their whereabouts and well-being are not yet known.
A Tibetan from Tibet had earlier told Phayul that returning pilgrims were being “stopped, harassed and threatened at gun point” by Chinese security personnel.
China has especially set up a dozen security checkpoints from the border town of Dram (Ch: Zhangmu) at the Nepal-Tibet border all the way to Lhasa, targeting Tibetan pilgrims on their way back home from Nepal and India.
Medicines, religious artifacts and even rosaries have been confiscated from the pilgrims.
Many Tibetans have reportedly gone missing and are yet to arrive at their homes.
Beginning mid-February till the end of March, Chinese authorities have decided to cut-off Tibet from the outside world with an official ban on all foreign visitors.
The ban encompasses two important events; the Tibetan New Year from February 22-24 and the Tibetan national uprising day commemorated on March 10. Three years ago, demonstrations on March 10, 2008 had led to the biggest ever pan-Tibet uprisings since the uprisings in 1959.