Tibetan refugees condemn Lhasa crackdown

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Gangtok, Mar 16 (UNI) Tibetans refugees from Sikkim have joined the worldwide condemnation of the crackdown of Tibetans at Lhasa by the Chinese authorities.

Thendup Dorjee from Tibetan Welfare Office (TWO) said here today the Tibetans in Sikkim were alarmed and concerned about the 'repressive tactics' of China which started since Friday.

TWO, a branch of the Tibetan Welfare Association, looks after the interests of such refugees in the state.

There are about 5,000 Tibetans with refugees certificates in different parts of the state.

''We are very much concerned about the fate of the Tibetans who were doing peaceful demonstrations at Lhasa.''Mr Dorjee told UNI.

Other Tibetan associations like Tibetan Youth Congress also had condemed the attack on monks by Chinese police.

A committee to rehabilitate the refugees in Sikkim was formed under the chairpersonship of Princes Phunkhang and they were engaged in developing land in Ravangla, South Sikkim for tea plantation.

The Lhasa crackdown had also alarmed the local traders engaged in Nathu La border trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) which is scheduled to start in two months time.

The Nathu La trade has been agreed by the Indian and Chinese government to be exclusively for Sikkimese and TAR traders till 2011, as per the initial agreement.

Lhasa, the capital of TAR is around 550 km away from Gangtok and the nearest Tibetan settlement at Richengang is around 80 km from Gangtok.

Around 50-60 Tibetan traders came to Sherathang trade mart near Nathu La everyday in the last seven month trade which ended on November last. The total number of TAR vehicles crossing the international border for trade was 585.

Official figures state that total business done during these seven months along the mountainous corridor was around Rs 34.6 lakhs.

Sikkim government has been demanding that the border trade should be declared as open trade.

UNI BG PP SW HT1555

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