Government halts process of sending eight Tibetan refugees to India

Kathmandu, July 30

The government has stopped the process of sending eight Tibetan refugees to the Indian city of Dharamshala, where thousands of Tibetans and their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama are living in exile following publication of the news in THT.

The refugees were scheduled to depart on Friday. The government was  all set to send eight Tibetan refugees to the Indian city of Dharamshala.

It was coordinating with India and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to make the departure of refugees as smooth as possible.

“Due to security concerns and the sensitive nature of the issue they have not been sent yet,” a source told THT today.

As per the plan, the refugees would  be given exit passes and would enter India via the border in Sunauli on Friday. According to sources, they were supposed to be sent to India last Wednesday, but it was postponed for Friday due to delay in arrangements.

The refugees were to be sent to India on the basis of an informal agreement among Nepal, India and the UNHCR in matters related to Tibetan refugees. The UNHCR and DoI had already verified the nationality of the refugees and were allowing the refugees to proceed to India ‘to protect their religious rights’.

According to sources, they will be sent to India at an ‘appropriate time.’

The refugees who are leaving for India are: Lobsang Phuntsok, 17, male; Thupten Tsering, 13, female; Sherab Kunsel, 19, male; Rinchen Namgyal, 19, male; Sonam Chokdue, 19, male; Yung Tsuk, 22, male; Tenzin, 23, male; and Ngawang Choeying, 38, female.

They had entered Nepal from border points in Dolakha and Rasuwa less than a year ago. They were verified as Tibetan refugees on July 20 by the Tibetan Reception Centre at Halchowk, Kathmandu.

On July 17, the government had detained two Tibetan refugees — Wanbo, 20, a resident of Shigatse, and Kunga, 25, from Lasha — from Tatopani border in Sindhupalchowk. They have been sent to Dharamshala, said DoI officials.

Earlier in June, two Tibetan refugees —  Kunsang Nyima, 24, and Pema Dhudul, 25 — were also sent to India.