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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nepal cracks down on Tibet war veterans welfare group

February 18, 2011

2011-02-17 14:30:00

Kathmandu, Feb 17 (IANS) The Nepal police has cracked down on an
organisation looking after Tibetan resistance fighters, who fought a
long guerrilla war against the Chinese invasion and annexation of their
country in the 1950s and 1960s, without any provocation, a rights group

Police in riot gear Sunday shut down local elections for the leadership
of the Chushi Gangdruk, a Tibetan community group principally looking
after the welfare of veterans of the Tibetan resistance force that
battled the Chinese People's Liberation Army from 1958 to 1974, the New
York-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said Thursday.

According to ICT, Kathmandu police Sunday raided three locations where
the voting was taking place: Swoyambhu, Jawalakhel and Boudha -- areas
in Kathmandu valley with a concentration of Tibetan refugees.

Around 10 a.m., a van arrived at the voting hall in Boudha and police
wearing riot-gear and carrying guns and batons said the raid was ordered
by the chief district officer on the ground that Tibetans were
prohibited from taking part in any election.

A member of the Chushi Gangdruk election committee, whose name was not
disclosed, said the voting was to choose local community representatives
so that 'when someone is sick we can take them to the hospital or when
someone dies we can take the corpse to the graveyard'.

The organisation said it helps poor and homeless people, cleans the
streets and looks after the environment in the Tibetan community.

The ballot box was confiscated and police monitored the area till
evening to ensure that fresh elections could not be held.

Ironically, the new crackdown came even as the US Under Secretary of
State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, who is also the
special coordinator for Tibetan Issues, was on a three-day visit to
Kathmandu to look into refugee issues.

During her visit, Otero had met Tibetan refugees and urged Nepal's
government to allow them free passage to India without restrictions.

She had also pledged the continued support of the US government for the
safety and welfare of Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

Last year, Nepal's police also prevented Tibetans from taking part in
elections to the government-in-exile of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama in
Dharamshala in India.

ICT said Nepal's 'One China policy' is frequently invoked by authorities
as the reason to shut down community activities in the Tibetan community
that had previously been allowed, such as the Chushi Gandruk elections
and celebrations of the Dalai Lama's birthday.

'The link between China's aggression against Tibetans and Nepalese
police actions has contributed to an environment of fear and insecurity
in Nepal's Tibetan communities,' it said.

Under Chinese pressure, Nepal has also refused to recognise as refugees
those who arrived after 1989, significantly limiting their social,
economic, political and civil rights.

Tibetan refugees are also not allowed to register marriages and the
birth of children.
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