Ridhima Malhotra, Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 30 Mar 2012. The Delhi high court on Thursday appointed a team of lawyers to ascertain how many people detained by the city police, to prevent pro-Tibetan independence protests during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the capital, were genuine cases.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also directed the Delhi police to not harass people from the Northeast and Ladakh because of their resemblance to Tibetans, during their effort to prevent anti-China protests by members of the Tibetan community-in-exile demanding autonomy/independence for Tibet which was annexed by China in 1950.
“It is the duty of the police not to harass people in the name of maintaining law and order in the city. We permit the team of lawyers to meet those persons who were arrested and lodged in Tihar Jail or detained in police stations to find out whether they are from Tibet or the Northeast,” the bench said.
The court, however, refused to restrain the police from detaining Tibetan protesters to maintain the law and order situation.
The bench directed the police to shift the Tibetans, who were lodged in Tihar Jail, to Ambedkar Bhavan where nearly 200 others have been detained for staging protests.
The order was passed after an oral submission by lawyer Arun Asthana that for the last two days the police has been harassing people from the Northeast and Ladakh as they look like Tibetans. Harassment to citizens is violative of their personal liberty, Asthana said, citing the experience of two fellow lawyers from the Northeast who faced police interrogation on Thursday morning.
Appearing for the Delhi police, standing counsel (criminal) Pawan Sharma told the bench that on March 27 an order was passed by the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) under the Foreigners’ Act to detain Tibetans who did not have genuine identity proof and indulged in protests in the city.
Mr Sharma also submitted that 197 people have been picked up from various parts of the city and lodged in Ambedkar Bhavan. He added that they would be allowed to leave as soon as the Chinese President leaves the country on March 30 after the conclusion of the BRICS summit.
Meanwhile, the VIP movement and curbs for the BRICS Summit made the going really tough for commuters as traffic almost came to a standstill in New Delhi area and adjoining roads.