Nepal arrests Dalai Lama’s envoy ahead of revolt anniversary

March 7th, 2010 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 7 (IANS) Ahead of the 51st anniversary of a failed uprising by Tibetans against the invasion and annexation of their country by China, Nepal police Sunday arrested the envoy of exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama in Kathmandu.

Thinley Gyatso, the “ambassador” of the Dalai Lama, whose “government in exile” sits in Dharamshala in India, was taken into detention by Nepal police as a preventive measure to pre-empt the protests Nepal feels will be staged on its soil on March 10.

The Nepal government had closed the office of the Dalai Lama’s representative in Kathmandu in 2005, saying that since it recognised Tibet as an integral part of China, it could not allow a parallel diplomatic office.

Since then, the Dalai Lama’s representative has been functioning in Nepal as the chief of an NGO, the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Centre.

Gyatso was also arrested in 2008 when a wave of anti-China protests by Tibetans rocked Nepal and embarrassed China, that was then hosting the Olympic Games.

On March 10, 1959, Tibetans staged a revolt against the Chinese occupation of their country that, however, was brutally put down.

Since then, every year, Tibetans worldwide observe the day as Tibetan Uprising Day.

Nepal is home to over 20,000 Tibetan refugees and every year, over 2000 use the republic as a transit to escape to India.

Ahead of the anniversary, bowing to Chinese pressure, Nepalese authorities have begun a crackdown on the Tibetan diaspora as well as refugees.

Nearly three dozen fleeing refugees, including a large number of women, have been arrested from Nepal’s border with Tibet since last month.

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