Police near homes leave Tibetans sore

New Delhi : On a day when a Tibetan self-immolator died here after battling for life for two days, his compatriots Wednesday prayed for him and said that they could not do much due to restrictions imposed on their activities by police.

“Since Monday night, there has been a police presence around our settlements in (north Dehli’s) Majnu Ka Tila, Buddha Vihar and Pitampura area, said Dorjee Dhundup, president of the Majnu Ka Tila Resident Welfare Association.

“We have been informed by police to avoid holding public meetings and assembly of five or more persons as section 144 (restrictions) have been imposed around the area of our settlements. Neither can we make speeches nor carry banners without written permission,” said Dhundup.

The restrictions, which will remain in force till March 30, were affecting normal life, added Dhundup.

“We have been present in the area from early morning and would remain here till evening. We have been deputed as a precautionary measure,” said a police officer deployed in the area.

Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan resident of Majnu Ka Tila, set himself on fire Monday at central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar during a protest against Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit here for the BRICS summit.

A meet was also organised at the Buddha temple in Majnu ka Tila to offer prayer for Yeshi who died in Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Residents said they could not do anything much for him.

The narrow bylanes of Majnu Ka Tila, the Tibetan resettlement colony home to over 350 Tibetan families, are clogged by kiosks and small shops run by the residents.

The area wore a deserted look Wednesday as the people were not being allowed to move in groups following the immolation, which stirred the capital days before the summit.

The Tibetan colony that is usually seen buzzing with monks clad in red-and-yellow had police personnel present in every nook and corner.

“The police personnel are not only keeping their eyes on our movements on roads, they are also present in the streets and outside our houses. We have no right to put our demands before the government in our own country,” Lekyi-Dorjee-Tsangia, settlement officer of central Tibetan relief committee, told IANS.

For some of the members of the community, the best way to protest was to close business. Boycott was their way, they said.

“We have been stopped to put our demands through demonstration against the Chinese President Hu Jintao, but we are protesting by closing our business till his presence here,” said Tenzing Wanschuk, president of the regional Tibet youth congress.

“There is a fear inside all of the Tibetans with police presence. Some students, who have been residing at Pitampura hostels, are not going to attend classes as they feel that they will be arrested if they move in groups,” added Wanschuk.

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