The Delhi high court on Thursday directed the Delhi Police not to harass people from the Northeast and Ladakh because of their facial similarity with Tibetans who have been protesting the visit of China President Hu Jintao.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also directed the city police to shift Tibetans, who are being lodged in Tihar Jail and police station, to Ambedkar Bhawan where nearly 200 people have been detained by the police for being Tibetan protesters.
Appointing a team of five lawyers to meet the detained persons and determine their genuineness, the bench said: "We permit the team of lawyers to meet those persons who were arrested and lodged in Tihar Jail or detained in the police station to find out whether they are from Tibet or Northeast India and Ladakh."
The court's order came after advocate Arun Asthana brought to the court's notice that "The Delhi police is harassing people from the Northeast and Ladakh as they look like Tibetans, which is violative of their personal liberty." He further submitted that the Delhi police has made Northeasterners or Ladakhis' life miserable for last two days.
"It is the duty of police not to harass people in the name of maintaining law and order in the city," the bench observed, however declining to restrain city police from detaining Tibetan protesters in lieu of maintaining the law and order situation in the city.
Delhi Police told the court that an order of the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) passed March 27 under the Foreigners' Act to detain Tibetans who did not have genuine identity proof and were involved in the protest.
It was further submitted by the police that 197 people have been picked up from Delhi and kept at Ambedkar Bhawan till March 30 because of ongoing BRICS summit and after the international convention, they will be allowed to get free.