(TibetanReview.net, Nov17, 2016) – Police in Nepal have taken into custody on Nov 14 a group of 41 Tibetans, including Buddhist monks and nuns, while they were travelling to India for pilgrimage, reported Reuters Nov 15. The report cited police officer Rajendra Bista as saying the Tibetans, apparently from Tibet, were stopped at Dhangadi, 430 km (270 miles) southwest of Kathmandu.
None of them had any travel document and were therefore taken into custody, the report said.
Basudev Ghimire, director at the Immigration Department in Kathmandu, has said the Tibetans were being brought back to capital Kathmandu where an investigation would be conducted to find out how they had entered Nepal.
He has said that if the Tibetans are genuine refugees they may be handed over to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Otherwise they may be deported to the country they came from.
Border police in Nepal have, on occasions, detained and handed over to their Chinese counterpart Tibetans who had fled their homeland. In May 2003, a group of 18 Tibetans were handed over to the Chinese police in the border Tibetan town of Dram (Chinese: Zhangmu, Nepalese: Kaza).
The report came days after the Nepalese media said that former prime minister and current Nepali Congress party president Sher Bahadur Deuba of the ruling coalition was criticized by China for having allegedly met with the head of the exile Tibetan administration Dr Lobsang Sangay in the Indian state of Goa during the 3rd India Ideas Conclave organized Nov 4-6 by New Delhi-based India Foundation. Deuba, who was also criticized by a section of the Nepalese media over the issue denied having done so and reaffirmed his firm commitment to Beijing’s one-China policy.
China has greatly strengthened its foothold in Nepal in recent decades, rapidly building roads and hospitals while becoming a major aid donor and trading partner to the Himalayan nation.
Nepal is home to around 20,000 Tibetans, with most of them having arrived after Chinese occupation of their country, especially after the brutal suppression of the 1959 uprising.
Under pressure from China, Nepal stopped registering Tibetans who arrived after 1989.