By Tendar Tsering
Tsetan Dorjee, his younger sister Lhamo Kyi and mother Dhumpo Kyi being confronted by border police at the Nepali border in Sonauli, May. (Phayul file photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 15: In an unexpected ruling, a court in Nepal today sentenced Tsetan Dorjee, the Tibetan who was on a march back home, to five years and five months, and 25 days in prison for illegally entering Nepal.
Dorjee was kept in detention for nearly two months before his sentencing.
He was arrested by the Nepali police at Thumpo Rin, 15 kms from the Nepali capital Kathmandu on May 21.
“During his detention period, Tsetan Dorjee had refused to bribe the police and stuck to his goal of marching on to Tibet,” Mogru Tenpa, a member of the Tibetan Parliament, who was with Dorjee just before he entered Nepal, told Phayul. “As a result, he has now been passed this heavy sentence.”
As of now, there is no information on whether Dorjee will move a higher court on his sentencing.
Dorjee along with his mother, Dhumpo Kyi and sister, Lhamo Kyi had embarked on their peace march to Tibet from Dharamshala, the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration on March 10.
After marching for over two months and covering more than 1,300 kms, the exile family was stopped by Nepali border police and forcibly returned to India in May.
However, slipping past Nepali border posts, Dorjee left behind his mother and sister on the Indian side and carried on with his March to Tibet in Nepal. He was arrested eight days later on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
Dorjee has been living in Israel for the last few years along with his wife and two children, and came back to India to begin his journey back home.
“If I die under the Chinese gun at the border, my message to all Tibetans is to be united in our struggle,” Dorjee had told Phayul before beginning his march.
“As Tibetans in Tibet keep burning themselves for a free Tibet, it is our responsibility to be united and stand together for Tibet,” Dorjee said. “It is time to be a Tibetan for Tibet, not just for one’s own family.”
Reports last month had indicated that Chinese authorities in Tibet are planning to re-launch
the infamous Strike Hard Campaign not only in Tibet but also in Nepal.
According to the exile Tibetan administration, Chinese authorities have commissioned plans to “crackdown” on Tibetans across Tibet, and those living in Nepal through “collaboration with the Nepalese police.”