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Nepal Cracks Down on Celebrations of the Dalai Lama’s Birthday

On Wednesday, the Nepali Government prevented the Tibetan community from celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday. Nepal officially supports the One-China policy, which holds that Tibet and Taiwan are integral parts of Chinese territory.

As the exiled- Tibetans began gathering to offer prayers at the local Namgyal Middle Boarding School at Swoyambhu, Kathmandu, police personnel intervened and dispersed the Tibetans assembled there. Around 800 devotees were gathered to celebrate the Dalai’s birthday, who is currently visiting US.

Three Tibetans were arrested during a scuffle, according to the Nepali police. “Those who were arrested on Wednesday morning will be released by Wednesday evening,” said Nepal’s Home Ministry spokesperson Sudhir Shah.

Security was tightened at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu and heavy security surveillance was installed across the Tibetan areas of Kathmandu by the security and intelligence agencies.

Just two weeks back, Nepali Police had arrested at least one dozen Tibetan exiles, who were gathered to participate in a religious event.
Nepali officials have been claming that Tibetan demonstrations ultimately turns into anti-China activities. Nepal has a policy of preventing activities which undermine India or China.

Last week, the newly appointed Chinese envoy to Kathmandu, Yang Houlam, called on Nepal’s Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to renew calls for the Nepali government to curb ‘Free Tibet’ movement against China.

The Nepali government has restricted all protests which could harm the country’s friendly relationship with neighbouring China despite criticism from international rights groups and the UN for the Nepal Police’s use of excessive force to stop the agitation. The Free Tibet movement in Nepal has always been a concern of the Chinese government.

According to rough data, Nepal is the home of more than 20,000 exiled Tibetan, but there has been no census for more than two decades, according to the Nepal’s Home Ministry. In first week of June, US Deputy Under-Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Kelly Clements asked Nepal to begin registering children of Tibetan refugees born after 1990. The United States and other western countries have repeatedly called on Nepal to honour its commitment in relation to Tibetans fleeing from Tibet.

About Anil Giri

Writes for The Kathmandu Post, the leading English newspaper in Nepal. Earlier, he was stationed in New Delhi as a Chief of Bureau for The Himalayan Times. He has worked for AHN, the US based new agency, The Guardian, Korea Times and others.

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