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Family of deceased Tibetan monk detained: Rights group

Police detained two family members of a deceased Tibetan monk on Friday, a rights group and media said, one day after his body was cremated in prison against his family`s wishes.



Beijing: Police detained two family members of a deceased Tibetan monk on Friday, a rights group and media said, one day after his body was cremated in prison against his family`s wishes.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche`s sister and her daughter were taken away by police at 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT) in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) said, citing Geshe Nyima, Delek`s student and cousin.

The police were from Lithang, or Litang in Chinese, Delek`s hometown, SFT said.

The US-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing Tibetan sources, also reported that the pair, whom RFA identified as 55-year-old Dolkar Lhamo and her daughter Nyima Lhamo, were detained on Friday.

When contacted by AFP, a woman who declined to give her name at the Lithang police station said she was not aware of the case.

Chinese security forces had also briefly detained two of the monk`s sisters for not signing his health record earlier this week, rights groups said.

Delek, 65, was 13 years into a life sentence for terrorism and separatism, imposed following a trial observers said was deeply flawed, when authorities announced news of his death at the weekend.

Rights groups said the circumstances of his death remained unclear.

He was convicted of separatism and involvement in a bombing in a public square, but his supporters insisted he was innocent.

Several protests in Delek`s hometown and in the southwestern city of Chengdu, where he was jailed, have taken place since his death was announced, according to the US-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and other Tibetan rights groups.

Police opened fire when around 1,000 people gathered near government offices in Nyagchuka county this week to protest the death, injuring about 20 people, the British-based Free Tibet group said.

Access to Tibetan regions is tightly controlled by the Chinese government and local media is barred from reporting issues the government deems sensitive.

China, which has ruled Tibet since 1951, has been accused of trying to wipe out its Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression and large-scale immigration by Han Chinese, the country`s ethnic majority.

China says Tibetans enjoy extensive freedoms and that it has brought economic growth to the region.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959 and established his government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

 

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