Eight Tibetan activists detained ahead of Modi-Xi summit in Mamallapuram

A noted ‘Free Tibet’ activist, Tsundue, a former student of the Loyola College in Chennai, was picked up at Kottakuppam in Villupuram district on Sunday night. The seven other Tibetan youth had landed from New Delhi, police said.
Officials walk past a Buddha statue installed at the entrance of the shore temple in Mamallapuram as part of the preparations for the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to be held from October 11 to 13.(PTI PHOTO.)
Officials walk past a Buddha statue installed at the entrance of the shore temple in Mamallapuram as part of the preparations for the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to be held from October 11 to 13.(PTI PHOTO.)
Updated on Oct 07, 2019 08:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chennai | By MC Rajan

The Tibetan community in Chennai and elsewhere in the state have come under scrutiny with eight of them, including writer-activist Tenzin Tsundue, arrested on charges of planning to protest against the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. They were remanded to custody on Monday, while a Nigerian national said to be an intruder into a posh hotel, where the visiting dignitaries are expected to stay, is absconding.

A noted ‘Free Tibet’ activist, Tsundue, a former student of the Loyola College in Chennai, was picked up at Kottakuppam in Villupuram district on Sunday night. The seven other Tibetan youth had landed from New Delhi, police said.

All of them were produced before a magistrate and remanded into custody.

Meanwhile, Ahuekwe Chinedu Livinus, the 33-year-old Nigerian who trespassed into the star hotel at Guindy, which has been put under a security blanket, is absconding. “He gained entry into the hotel late in the night. After preliminary inquiry, the police manning the security let him off asking him to report at the local police station in the morning. But, he has not turned up so far,” a police official said.

According to police sources, the security officers who had let him off are being questioned about the lapse.

The action against the Tibetans followed an alert from Central Intelligence agencies about a possible protest by the Tibetan Youth Congress and the Students for Free Tibet – India. Accordingly, the state police carried out an enumeration of Tibetans in Chennai and across the state. Local intelligence apparatus has been activated to monitor the activities of Tibetans. A circular has been sent to Police SPs in the districts and Commissioners to gather details of Tibetan refugees in their respective jurisdiction.

Tsundue, who had shifted base to Dharamshala, is active in organizing protests whenever Chinese leaders visit India. According to the police, he had posted on Facebook about a plan to unfurl ‘Free Tibet Flag’ at Mamallapuram, the venue of the Sino-Indian summit. He was booked under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act.

Since the venue of the summit is on the open-ended porous East Coast, the Central agencies have alerted about the possibility of intrusion of agitators by sea. As such, the Coastal Security Wing of the state police has increased vigil in coordination with the Coast Guard and the Navy. Patrolling along the East Coast has been strengthened, sources said.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu DGP JK Tripathy reviewed the security arrangements in Chennai and Kancheepuram districts. Adequate police personnel from other units and divisions will be mobilized to ensure foolproof security, sources added.

As the second edition of the Modi-Xi summit (October 11-13) draws closer, Mamallapuram is witnessing hectic activity with the heritage site sporting a new look. At the ancient port town, both the leaders would walk down the history of Sino-Indian cultural ties and flourishing maritime trade when they stroll around the monuments during their stay.

While Kancheepuram, the capital of the Pallava Empire was an acclaimed centre of learning, including Buddhism and Sanskrit, drawing scholars from far and near, Mamallapuram was a thriving port, with a flourishing trade with China and the Far East apart from the Mediterranean countries.

Peninsular India was known for sea trade and commerce and the poets of the Sangam and post-Sangam era have referred to huge ships anchored off the shores of Mamallapuram. Chinese monk Hiuen Tsang could have visited the coastal town during his long stay at Kancheepuram in the 7th century.

One such post-Sangam era text is ‘Pattinappaalai’ of the poet Kadiyalur Uruththirankannanar who refers to ‘tungu naavaay’. While ‘naavaay’ is ship in Tamil, tungu is Chinese while ‘yavanam’ is for Greece.

According to Tamil scholars, the Pallavas sent envoys to China and a royal prince, Bodhi Darma, who had converted to Buddhism and landed in China, is still revered in the country.

“Chinese pottery and coins of that period have been found in the coastal areas and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, which were under the Pallava rule. Stone inscriptions at Vayalur reveal that the Pallava kings had diplomatic relations with the Chinese kingdom. They clearly establish the Tamil maritime trade with China and the far-east. There is a legend that a Korean queen was of Tamil origin,” says Dr C Santhalingam, who retired from the state Archaeological Department.

Many ancient Chinese texts refer to royal patronage for trade with the Tamil part of the country and the emperors have exchanged gifts as well, he explained.

No wonder, Mamallapuram is the perfect venue for the summit to recalibrate Sino-Indian ties, Santhalingam added.

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Friday, October 22, 2021