Published: 13th October 2019
Were Tibetan students 'house-arrested' in Chennai college hostel during Xi visit?
Tibetan students were allegedly detained at the hostel under the instruction of the city police
Several Tibetan students were allegedly detained in a room on a hostel in the Madras Christian College campus during Chinese President Xi's visit to the city. The students were apparently told that they were being detained since the police had directed the college administration to do so.
According to a post by the group Students for a Free Tibet on social media, over a dozen students were detained in the College's Margaret Hall, one of the women's hostels on campus. The social media post showed about 6-7 students sitting in a common room all huddled up together with their beds all lined up beside each other.
In the post, the students called the event an "unofficial" house arrest. Some news reports said that while the administration denied any detainment, inside sources had said that the direction had come from the police and the administration had little to do with it.
A few days ago, all the Tibetan students were asked to appear at the police station and sign a letter promising they would not participate in any pro-Tibet protests during the Chinese President's visit. They were also asked to appear at the police station every day to assure the police they would not organise any protests, however, the students convinced the police that they would have exams and thus would not be able to appear.
According to a student, the police trusted the students and accepted their request. However, the police allegedly still managed to detain the students through the management. The University of Madras also had similar arrangements for their Tibetan students, sources said.
In some other parts of the city, some students from the North East have complained (on social media) that the police was harassing them and even arresting them mistaking them to be Tibetans.
The college administration could not be reached for comment.