Tibetan students confined in hostel

Indrani Basu,TOI: About 300 Tibetan students were virtually under house arrest on Monday when police did not allow them to leave the Tibetan SOS Youth Hostel in Rohini. Police mounted barricades in the area at 6am, refusing to let the students leave the hostel premises.

The youths — studying mostly in Delhi University and pursuing engineering and science courses in and around Delhi — ended up missing classes, failed to submit assignments and even appear for exams, thanks to the clampdown in the area. The hostel administration was forced to intervene and provide details of 230 students. It was only then that cops allowed some students to head for their respective colleges, though most had missed their classes by that time.

"The cops kept us confined thinking we will cause some problem. I could not attend my morning classes. They let up after a lot of pleading and allowed us to go," said Tenzin Choetso, a Miranda House student.

The hostel administration decried the police treatment, calling it undemocratic. They were worried that the students will miss classes on all the days that the Chinese defence minister is in the city.

"It was only after I threatened to go to court if the students were not allowed to leave for their classes that the police let some students move out. The local police asked for a list of students and their details. If a Chinese official visits Delhi, does this mean that hundreds of Tibetans should be harassed?" said director of the hostel, Tsering Dolma, showing a written order from the Prashant Vihar police station demanding students' details.

"They all have refugee status and there are some terms and conditions that they must meet. That's why we are checking their details for monitoring their movements. This is just to rein in any protest," said a senior police officer of the area. "I was in tears as we had done nothing wrong. If the students
lose out on attendance, their sponsorship will be cut," Dolma added. Dolma told TOI that cops refused to let any student leave till 10.30am, and even then laid down several restrictions. "There is no restriction on the movement of Tibetans. We are just checking to prevent protests," said additional DCP (outer) Mohammad Rizvi.

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