New Government Tightens Grip, Intensifies Crackdown on ‘Religious Freedom’ of Tibetan Refugees

The government formed after the new equation took power has been stricter on Tibetan refugees in the Kathmandu Valley.

A Tibetan refugee leader has stated that the government, which banned religious activities on March 14, the Uprising Day celebrated by Tibetans on March 10, has proposed to ban similar religious activities on March 28 as well.

Tibetan refugees who arrived in the valley at different times have been residing in Kathmandu. They have sought refuge in various camps across the valley and have also observed various special days. However, the government, committed to the One China principle, has been halting their demonstrations and making arrests when deemed necessary.

The Tibetan refugee leader mentioned that there was pressure on them during the previous government’s tenure and informed that the current government has adopted a prohibitionist approach.

“We have been observing Uprising Day on March 10 every year. This year, when we attempted to celebrate by lighting candles as usual, the government adopted a strategy of preventing people from going out by mobilizing the police,” he said. “‘Will we not be able to enjoy our religious freedom?’ The leader told epardafas that arrests were made on March 10 by deploying uniformed police to settlement camps and offices in the valley.”

In the past, the government used to deploy four security personnel in plain clothes to monitor Tibetan refugees. This time, security personnel in police uniforms were assigned to the settlement office of Tibetan refugees. They closed the doors of such offices on March 10 and March 14 and did not allow the refugees to go out, said the Tibetan leader. He informed that the government has implemented a strict policy regarding their public festival scheduled for March 28.

March 10th, the day when China took control of Tibet, is celebrated as Tibet Uprising Day by supporters of Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama. Officials from the Chinese embassy in Nepal have been pressuring the Nepalese government to clamp down on the activities of Tibetan refugees.

In the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2021, it was mentioned that leaders of the Tibetan community were prohibited from celebrating the birthday of their religious leader, the Dalai Lama. Additionally, Nepalese government agencies controlled their ability to celebrate other public holidays.

“There was heightened police surveillance of Tibetans, and in some cases, the number of Tibetans connected to the Dalai Lama and security personnel monitoring Tibetan culture and religious ceremonies increased,” the report said.


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