By Tenzin Nyima
Siliguri, March 18 – A huge unprecedented number of Tibetans and Himalayan people from the North-East part of India gathered in Siliguri to condemn China’s violent crackdown on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Tibet. Around 3200 people from Gangtok, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong, Ravangla, Shillong, Kohima, Dimapur, Mirik, Oodlabari, Chakpuri, Pashupati, Lawa, Sonada, Pedong, Algara, Bomdila, Oodlabari, Ralang, Namchi, and Itananagar participated in the protest.
A stream of participants started pouring in from 2:00am at the venue traveling for almost 23 hours. The participants were shouting pro-Tibet and anti-China slogans as they reached the venue.
The program started with the singing of the Tibetan National Anthem and Tibetan Uprising Song followed by a one minute silence for the Tibetan martyrs killed in the past week. President of North-East Tibetan Youth Congress lauded the unprecedented turn of people and highlighted the current grievous situation inside Tibet. “This is the moment we were waiting for and this is the moment for action” he said. The General Secretary of N.E.T.Y.C. told the gathering that “pus of the 49-year-old resentment of the Tibetan people has uncontrollably burst out and now, it is unstoppable.”
Many Indian onlookers sympathized with the protesters saying, ‘We Indians are with you’. The effigy of Hu-Jintao and Wen Jiabao was burnt amidst anti-China slogans. The crowd then prayed for those who were killed in the recent violence in Tibet. The statement of North-East Tibetan Youth Congress was read out ending the first phase of the protest.
A memorandum was submitted for the Prime Minister of India through the Sub-Divisional Officer in Siliguri. The memorandum appealed the Indian government to condemn China’s violent crackdown. To urge the Chinese leadership to immediately stop the repression and release all those who have been detained and to provide medical care to the injured, demanding a United Nations investigation.
The second phase started with a Candlelight Vigil. The procession concluded with a prayer by the monks for peace in Tibet and the world as well.