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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Nepal blocks Tibet voting

October 6, 2010

Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
October 4, 2010

Kathmandu, Oct 4 -- In yet another instance of
Nepal’s hardening stance on Tibetan refugees,
police here interrupted voting to elect the next
Tibetan government in exile on Sunday. Policemen
stormed voting places at several locations in
Kathmandu Valley and took away ballot boxes midway through polling.

Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu and nearby places
were taking part in primary polls to nominate
candidates for the post of prime minister and
other members of the government in exile.

The polling will culminate in a general election
next year when Tibetan refugees would elect the
third directly elected PM of the government in
exile and also members of parliament. Nearly
80,000 Tibetan refugees residing in Nepal, India,
Bhutan and other countries who are eligible to
cast their ballot would take part in the
election. Nepal is home to nearly 20,000 Tibetan
refugees most of whom stay in the Kathmandu Valley.

Polling started on Sunday at 8:30 am and was to
end at 5:30 in the evening when teams of Nepal
Police personnel reached the booths and took away the ballot boxes.

"Around 30 policemen came to Boudha and took away
the ballot boxes at 4:15 pm," said Tsering
Thondup, welfare officer of refugees at Jorpatti
and Boudha areas while talking to HT. Ten minutes
earlier, another team of policemen reached the
Swayambhunath monastery polling booth and took
away the ballot boxes. “Police teams reached
booths at Jwalakhel and Lalitpur too and stopped
polling. They didn’t take away the ballot boxes from there,” said Thondup.

The Republica daily quoted a statement issued by
the home ministry which stated that the action
was taken as the polling "violated Nepal’s
foreign policy and existing laws of the host country."

Nepal advocates a One China Policy and is against
use of its soil for any anti-China activities.
Sunday’s action comes at a time when the country
urged by the Chinese authorities has initiated
strong measures to foil attempts by Tibetan refugees to enter Nepal.
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