Tibetan students in youth hostel allege house arrest

Over 200 Delhi University Tibetan students staying at Tibetan SOS Youth Hostel in Rohini alleged that they are under “house arrest” for the last two days.

According to resident students, police have beefed up security measures by restricting their movement after a series of protests by Tibetans in Delhi against the arrival of Chinese president Hu Jintao for the BRICS summit.

“After much convincing, police allowed us to attend college, but only 20 students were allowed to go to college on Tuesday. Police buses and even cars are being used to pick and drop students,” said a resident of the hostel, who does not want to be named.

The residents say due to less number of available police cars and buses, students who got permission to go to college reached late and missed important classes.

“We were taken to college in a small police car. Students from North and South Campus colleges were in it. By the time we reached, the classes were over. I had my exam at 9 am but I reached at 1 pm,” said the student.

The residents also complained about limited timings to venturing out of the hostels. “It is only during college hours that a few students can go out. Last night, I told four policemen that I have a throat infection and need to go to the chemist. But they refused to let me go,” said a student who was going to the hostel after attending classes at Kirori Mal College.

According to students, every day a new batch of 20 students are allowed to attend college. “Since I went to college yesterday, I could not go today. I have to give a chance to other students. Even if somebody wants to go to the nearest grocery shop, only one person is allowed to get all the things required by other resident students,” said a female student staying at a separate building. Some 15 Tibetan working professionals living in the same building are facing similar restrictions.

“House arrest of students is absurd. Even if they are allowed to go to college, they are picked up and dropped by police. How would anybody feel if they are treated as criminals even if they haven’t done anything,” said Rinzin Choedon, a third-year student of Miranda House and member of Students for Free Tibet.

Laxmi Narain, police incharge at the youth hostel said there is no restriction in mobility of students and security has been beefed up till March 30.

“We maintain registers to be signed while entering and leaving the premises. The main gate is opened. There is no such restriction. But we have to check whether students have valid reasons to go out,” he said.

At least 20 police personnel are posted outside the hostel.

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