Stating that the human rights situation is deteriorating in Tibet [Images], a United States-based human rights watchdog has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to take up the issue of 'repression' of Tibetans with the visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao.
In a letter to Dr Singh released on Monday to coincide with the visit of Hu to India, Human Rights Watch said India's respect for Tibetans' human rights have long distinguished its conduct with China.
"It would be a shame to see India toss aside its proud and principled history for the sake of mollifying China," HRW's deputy Asia director Sophie Richardson said.
The letter also asked the Indian government to 'publicly reverse' its decision to 'ban or restrict' peaceful protests against President Hu's visit and 'rescind its threat' to deport the protesters.
Officials in Dharamsala, home to thousands of Tibetan refugees, have told activists that they cannot fly banners bearing phrases like 'Free Tibet'. They have also been discouraged from leaving the town, presumably to prevent them from protesting near the leaders' meetings in New Delhi.
"In the past, India has quietly shown its support for Tibetans' human rights," said Richardson. "But as New Delhi deepens its relationship with Beijing [Images], India seems willing to violate even its own domestic human rights protections to avoid offending China."
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