17 Tibetans held for entering Nepal 'illegally'

KATHMANDU: The police on Thursday evening had detained 17 Tibetans, including seven women for allegedly trying to sneak into Nepali soil via Lamabagar transit point of Dolakha district.The arrests were made by a special squad dispatched from Border Police at Lamabagar and Gogar.

They had failed to produce their travel documents when grilled. The Tibetans have been accused of trying to clear the way to India via Nepal to attend the religious sermons to be delivered by the spiritual leader Dalai Lama and have been kept in the custody of District Police Office, Dolakha. Identities of the arrested were not immediately known.

DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, in-charge of Dolakha police informed that they would be handed over to Department of Immigration only on Monday as the country was observing Saturday and Sunday as public holidays to mark Holi, the festival of colour. An official at Department of Immigration said they would face either deportation to Tibet, imprisonment in the country or would be handed over to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Nepal has tightened security along its border with Tibet in an attempt to prevent influx of Tibetans in Nepal as it maintains 'One China Policy'. With this, the number of Tibetans arrested for illegally crossing into Nepal via Lamabagar transit point reached to 50 in the past two weeks.