Minister of Tibetan government-in-exile barred entry into Nepal

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A minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile arrived Thursday at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) but was barred entry into Nepal, a TIA immigration said.

Tsering Dhondup, finance minister of the India-based government-in-exile, was turned away at the TIA, according to Keshav Pudasaini, a senior immigration officer at the airport.

“He had taken a flight from Qatar to Kathmandu with the purpose to visit Nepal,” Pudasaini told reporters. “We refused him immigration clearance based on orders from the Home Ministry.”

Dhondup is believed to have taken a flight to New Delhi after being denied entry.

This is the second time the minister has been stopped by immigration authorities at the same airport in recent months, the official said.

“There are orders from the Home Ministry to deny immigration clearance to certain┬áTibetan leaders,” he said, declining to elaborate.

However, the Tibetan government-in-exile, on its website, denied news reports about the incident.

“The kadrung (cabinet secretary) has categorically rejected the Kathmandu Post’s news story of Kalon Tsering Dhondup being denied entry to Nepal as “totally untrue,”‘ the website said, referring to the news carried in Friday’s edition of daily.

“Kalon Tsering Dhondup was in Dharmashala on the day the alleged incident was reported to have happened,” the website said, quoting Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, secretary of the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Though traditionally accommodative to Tibetans, Nepal has increasingly adopted a hard line since 2008 when Tibetan exiles living here organized almost-daily protests against a Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

Protests targeting Chinese diplomatic offices in Kathmandu prompted China to pressure Nepal to curb such activities. The pressure has paid off and anti-China protests by Tibetans here are now rare.

Nepal officially considers Tibet as inalienable part of China and receives substantial development aid from its giant northern neighbor.

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