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Police Arrest Tibet Bound Tibetans in Spiti

August 8, 2008

Kalsang Rinchen
August 5, 2008

New York, August 4 -- Two Tibetans were arrested yesterday from
Bhuntar airport in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India. Tenzin
Tsundue and Lobsang were going to participate in a march to Tibet.
The police had been tipped off about their arrival at the small
Indian town yesterday and arrested the two immediately after their
landing. However, the two were released earlier today. Both of them
also took part in the march to Tibet which was earlier stopped by the
Indian police at Dharchula, the last Indian village bordering Tibet
in Uttranchal.

In another incident, around 60 people led by Shingtsa Rinpoche were
taken into police custody at Kaza in Spiti Valley as they attempted
to march to Tibet. It took police around four hours to arrest all the
marchers as locals, mostly Buddhists, tried to stop and plead the
police not to arrest the Tibetans. The locals while expressing their
solidarity with the marchers tried to prevent the arrest of the Tibetans.

According to a source the arrested marchers have started a hunger
strike without food and water in the local police station.

Shingza Tulku Lobsang Tenzin Choekyi Gyaltsen ("Shingza Rinpoche")
was born in Tsongon, Amdo (Qinghai) and is a prominent Lama at the
Sera monastery in south India. He was one of the marchers who were
earlier stopped at Dharchula.

Meanwhile in Delhi, heavy downpour and wind caused trouble to the six
hunger strikers and their supporters as police and medical team stood
by keeping a close watch. However, the police have not taken any
hunger striker to hospital yet. In 1998, Thupten Ngodup of the
Tibetan Youth Congress set himself ablaze when the Indian police
forced Tibetan hunger strikers to hospital. On the same day. an
important Chinese military officer was on a state visit to India.

This time around, people fear the Indian police might force the
hunger strikers for medical care as the Olympics opening draws near.

Tenzin Dasel in Delhi contributed to this report
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