Tibetan origin woman held for trying to get fake Nepali passport

August 1st, 2011 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 1 (IANS) A 22-year-old woman of Tibetan origin, suspected to be a refugee living in Bangalore, has been arrested after she tried to obtain a fake Nepali passport.

Police also arrested three Nepali men from Nuwakot district for helping her obtain the passport fraudulently.

Besides the woman, who had obtained a Nepali passport in the name of Chhintal Tamang, police arrested 66-year-old Bhakta Bahadur Tamang, who had feigned to be her father, K.P. Thapaliya, who had signed the documents as a referee, and Devendra Neupane.

The arrest of a Tibetan refugee seeking to get a fake Nepali passport comes less than a week of two more Tibetan being arrested at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport while trying to leave the country on fake Nepali passports.

Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau arrested 15-year-old Jayang Tenzin, and his sister, Tsering Lhamo, 12, around Tuesday midnight while they were seeking to board a Qatar Airways flight to Turkey with other members of their family who have been living in the US under the status of Tibetan refugees.

Also travelling with the youngsters were their parents Jyamba and Chode, both of whom had valid US visas, and a younger brother who is a US citizen by birth.

The fake passports of the two arrested minors had been stamped with genuine US visas, indicating the plan to fly them out of Nepal to the US.

Ever since China blocked the move by the American government to offer asylum to vulnerable Tibetan refugees living in Nepal, there have been growing cases of Tibetan refugees obtaining fake Nepali passports to circumvent the ban.

Besides Tibetan refugees living in Nepal, even members of the diaspora living in India are suspected of obtaining fake Nepali passports to go to the US, Canada and Europe.

One of the most publicised cases is that of Zigmey Lhanzom, a Tibetan woman who arrived in Chicago in 1997.

She told a US court that her parents were resistance fighters who opposed the Chinese invasion of Tibet and subsequently had to flee to India.

She grew up in the family of an uncle, who was arrested by the Chinese while she was sent to a labour camp for taking part in anti-China demonstrations.

Lhanzom admitted in court that she escaped to Nepal and then obtained a fake Nepali passport to go to the US.

China has been constantly pressuring Nepal’s government and main political parties to reiterate their commitment to the “One China” policy that regards Tibet as an integral and inalienable part of China.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, despite facing the collapse of his government, attended an interaction on Sino-Nepal relations and renewed the pledge not to allow Nepali soil to be used for anti-China activities.

However, the revelation that Nepali passports are being regularly misused by Tibetan refugees will be a new cause of concern for Beijing.

China is especially wary of Tibetans who flee to the US, regarding them as potential troublemakers who contribute to anti-China protests in Nepal.

In 2008, when Beijing hosted the Olympic Games, it was humiliated before the world with Tibetan refugees keeping up persistent anti-China demonstrations in Kathmandu.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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