Nepal Maoists ‘arrest’ five Tibetans for ‘anti-China’ activities

February 23rd, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 23 (IANS) Cadres of Nepal’s ruling Maoist party have caught five Tibetans and handed them over to local police for allegedly crossing into Nepal illegally in a bid to take part in the “Free Tibet” campaign against the Chinese government.

The group, including two Tibetan women, were caught by members of the Young Communist League (YCL), the controversial strong arm of the Maoists that has been frequently known to take the law into its own hands.

According to Kranti, the YCL in-charge in Sindhupalchowk district in north Nepal near the Tibetan border, the group members, who can’t speak either English or Nepali, were caught Sunday at Phulping village near the Arniko highway that connects Nepal with Tibet.

The Maoist unit alleges that the group reached Nepal illegally as part of an orchestrated plan to enter Kathmandu valley and take part in “Free Tibet” campaigns by Tibetan dissidents.

Every year, hundreds of Tibetans flee their motherland in a bid to reach India or the US via Nepal, alleging that under the Chinese rule in Tibet, they are not allowed to practise their traditional religion and culture.

While it was not known immediately whether the detained five were Tibetan refugees or “Free Tibet” activists, this is the first time that the Maoist party has taken initiative to apprehend the fugitives.

The move comes after two recent visits to Nepal by Chinese delegations that sought to strengthen China’s ties with the Maoist party and extract the pledge that the Maoist government of Nepal would not allow any anti-China activity on its soil.

The Chinese concern has increased with Mar 28 coming closer.

The day this year marks the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising in Tibet against the Chinese annexation of the Buddhist kingdom.

Last year, Tibetan commemoration of the revolt worldwide became impassioned and turbulent with China trying to suppress the protests in view of the summer Olympic Games that were to be held in Beijing.

The protests became dogged in Kathmandu despite a brutal police crackdown, beginning in February and continuing almost till September.

This year, China fears greater trouble as it has decided to celebrate the day as “Serfs’ Emancipation Day”, which Tibetans regard as rubbing salt into their injuries.

The Sindhupalchowk police said the five Tibetans would be handed over to the immigration authorities for legal action.

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