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Nepal bars Dalai Lama celebrations

world Updated: Jul 07, 2011 00:12 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Staying true to its One-China policy, Nepal on Wednesday prevented thousands of Tibetans residing in the country from carrying out celebrations marking the 76th birthday of their spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Following pressure from its northern neighbour to prevent any anti-China protests during the festivities, Nepali authorities made stringent security arrangements at places where Tibetan refugees reside.

Police personnel closed the main entrance to Namgyal School, the main venue of the celebrations in Kathmandu, early on Wednesday morning preventing entry of many who had reached there.

“Some managed to sneak inside but most were unable to enter the compound to take part in celebrations because of the heavy security,” said a Tibetan activist on condition of anonymity.

He stated that unlike last year when Tibetans were not allowed to move from one place to another within Kathmandu, there were no such restrictions imposed this year.

No arrests had been made and no one kept in preventive detention. Security was also tightened outside the Chinese embassy and visa office on anticipation of demonstrations.

On Tuesday, chief district officer of Kathmandu Laxmi Prasad Dhakal had issued a warning that legal action would be taken against anyone trying to stage anti-China protests.

The administration had agreed to allow birthday celebrations held inside monasteries and refugee camps on condition that participants don’t display placards or shout anti-China slogans.

Police surveillance in areas like Swayambhunath and Bouddha which have large number of Tibetan refugees had been increased and strict vigil kept on movement of suspected elements.

Nepal has a population of nearly 20,000 Tibetan refugees. The country stopped granting refugee status from 1990 to those fleeing Tibet and of late it has hardened its stance against them under pressure from China.

Newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan had met Deputy Prime Minister and home minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara last week and urged him to take steps to prevent anti-China protests.