Tibetans defy prohibitory orders, stage protests

KATHMANDU: Tibetan exiles living in Kathmandu today defied prohibitory orders and staged peaceful protests against Chinese rule in Tibet to mark the 51st anniversary of the failed Tibet uprising.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had instructed security officials to use all resources and legal tools to ensure that no activity aimed at undermining the bilateral relationship with the northern neighbour takes place.

Hundreds of Tibetan monks offered prayers at the Samten Laing monastery on the premises of the Bouddhanath Stupa and observed a five-minute silence “to remember those killed during the Chinese invasion in Lhasa” before taking out a rally. Protesters, waving Tibetan flags, shouted anti-China slogans like “we want justice,” “we want free Tibet” and “death to Hu Jintao.”

Police exercised restraint and did not use force on those protesting at the Bouddhanath Stupa premises. DSP Pradhumna Karki, Kathmandu Operation In-charge, said they arrested 17 protesters, including a woman, for allegedly breaking up a security cordon and taking to the street outside the stupa. Security forces had to use moderate force to control the situation.

Around 200 security forces were deployed to cordon off the stupa and to ensure that they will not hit the streets. Tsultrim Tenzin, a demonstrator, said, “We want the Chinese government to leave our country (Tibet) and let us rule. We will keep pushing the agenda until our demands are met”. Fourteen Tibetans including six women were arrested from the restricted zone near the Chinese Consular Section at Hattisar. “No sooner had they got off a bus to stage a protest in the prohibited zone, the police arrested them,” Karki said. They also shouted anti-China slogans. There were no reports of clashes and injury. Nepal has upheld Beijing’s “One China” policy — that Tibet is an integral part of China. The government has reiterated that it will not allow its soil to be used against friendly countries.