Tibetan Protesters Arrested in Chennai Ahead of Modi-Xi Summit
Five Tibetan nationals were detained by the police on Friday, 11 October, for attempting to stage a protest outside the ITC Grand Chola hotel in Chennai, a high-ranking police source confirmed to The Quint, adding that the five were found hiding in the bushes outside the hotel when they were arrested.
The ITC Grand Chola is where Chinese President Xi Jinping will be heading once he lands in Chennai. He will be holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the temple town of Mamallapuram on 11-12 October.
One of the men was holding a Tibetan flag and attempted to stage a sudden protest by shouting slogans. He was immediately whisked away. The multi-tier security cover has turned Mamallapuram into a fortress.
In the past week, at least nine Tibetans had already been arrested. Reports suggested that they received alerts from Central intelligence agencies regarding planned protests by the Tibetan Youth Congress and Students for Free Tibet-India.
Tenzin Norbu, an assistant professor at Hindustan College in Chennai, was among those arrested by the Chennai police and sent to judicial remand on Tuesday. He was allegedly planning to stage a black flag protest against the Chinese president along with a few Tibetan students.
Police also conducted secret searches at hostels and college campuses following reports from intelligence agencies.
Security has been tightened at the Chennai airport, ITC Chola hotel, the East Coast Road that leads to Mahabalipuram, and Kovalam, where the officials will be staying. Police officials are keeping a close watch on those who could potentially cause disruption. Interestingly, a high-ranking police source confirmed to The Quint that all requests to hold protests in the area before the event had been denied.
The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have deployed warships at a distance from the shore in Mamallapuram, to provide security from any seaborne threat.
The two leaders are expected to hold comprehensive talks on a host of issues concerning the bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues.
(With inputs from Khemta H Jose.)
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