Reports: Indian Police Round UpTibetan Exiles Before Hu Visit

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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Police in New Delhi are reportedly cracking down on the city's Tibetan population, after a Tibetan exile set himself on fire this week to protest a scheduled visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Indian media say hundreds of Tibetan activists were detained or confined to their homes Tuesday as part of “preventative measures” aimed at stopping another self-immolation bid.

The Hindustani Times says police have ordered all Tibetans under house arrest until March 31, since many have disregarded a government ban on protests.

Prominent Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue was arrested while he was giving a speech at an academic seminar on India and Tibet. Hundreds of students at a youth hostel in New Delhi say they were prevented from leaving the facility to take their college exams.

In some cases, members of the media were prevented from meeting with those placed under house arrest.

The crackdown comes after 27-year-old Tibetan exile Jamphel Yeshi set himself on fire during an anti-Chinese protest Monday. He was taken to a hospital with burns over 98 percent of his body. Activists said Wednesday that Yeshi died from his wounds.

President Hu was scheduled arrive in India later Wednesday for a summit meeting of the so-called BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

This is the second self-immolation by a Tibetan exile in New Delhi in recent months. Tibetan rights groups say 29 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in regions under Chinese control. Yeshi is thought to be the first Tibetan to die in India of self-immolation.

China refers to the self-immolators as terrorists who are carefully coordinated by “trained separatists.”

Tibetans accuse China of pursuing a policy of deliberate cultural extinction in Tibetan-inhabited areas. Images of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are forbidden. Monks and nuns are forced to undergo patriotic “re-education” programs. And Beijing floods the areas with non-Tibetan economic migrants who are accused of discriminating against the local population.

China says Tibet has always been part of its territory. Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries.