Nepal detains 90 illegal Tibetan immigrants - police

KATHMANDU Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:02pm IST

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal has detained 90 Tibetan exiles for illegally entering the Himalayan republic, police said on Friday, in the latest crackdown on Tibetans carried out shortly before a reported visit by the Chinese premier.

Kathmandu police chief Rajendra Shrestha said the refugees were held at Thankot on the outskirts of Kathmandu late on Thursday, while they were travelling in buses coming from India.

Local media reported that Wen Jiabao would spend about five hours in Nepal on Saturday during which he is expected to meet Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai before leaving for the Middle East in the afternoon.

Beijing has released no official information about any possible visit, and Nepal government officials declined to comment on the media reports.

The premier had been scheduled to visit Nepal in December, but postponed the tour at the last minute amid speculation over security concerns and fears of Tibetan exiles organising anti-China protests. Officials said the trip was delayed due to China's "internal" reasons.

"They were detained because they failed to produce valid travel documents," Shrestha told Reuters about the Tibetan immigrants, without giving details.

Another police officer, Sudhir Raj Shahi, said all those detained were being held at a police station in the Nepali capital. "They will be freed if they produce valid travel documents. Otherwise we will hand them to the immigration department," Shahi said.

Hundreds of Tibetans fleeing their homeland arrive in Nepal every year on their way to India, where the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama lives. Nepali authorities normally hand them to the United Nations refugee agency.

Nepal, home to more than 20,000 Tibetans, is under pressure from Beijing, a key trade partner and donor, to crack down on any "anti-China" activities by the Tibetans.

Kathmandu considers Tibet a part of China and says the Tibetans are free to stay but must not engage in protests against its giant neighbour.

Two months ago a Tibetan exile set himself on fire in Nepal, in a wave of self-immolations by Tibetans, but was overpowered by others.

Beijing says the Dalai Lama is a dangerous separatist, a charge he strongly denies, insisting he seeks only genuine autonomy for Tibet through peaceful means.

(Editing by Matthias Williams and Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Hydrogen-Powered

Hydrogen-Powered

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Korea Boat Tragedy

Korea Boat Tragedy

Hundreds still missing in deadly Korea ferry sinking.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Bloodshed in eastern Ukraine heightens fear as talks start  Full Article 

Xi's Master Plan

Xi's Master Plan

China's Xi purging corrupt officials to put own men in place - sources.  Full Article 

Missing Jet

Missing Jet

Search for Malaysia Airlines jet refocuses on drone scans of seafloor.  Full Article 

Spanish Football

Spanish Football

Bale stunner claims King's Cup win for Real over Barca.  Full Article 

Taking Charge

Taking Charge

Afghan women stand to be counted as West begins to disengage.  Full Article 

Sparking Boom

Sparking Boom

BlackBerry's meltdown sparks start-up boom in Canada's Silicon Valley.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage