The peace marchers gather at Kalachakra Phodang, Salugara before undertaking their long walk (Photo by Tenzin Nyima for Phayul.com)
Dharamsala, March 20: 300 pro-Tibet activists from the North-East region of India started on a peace march from Siliguri in West Bengal to Nathula Border in Sikkim in their attempt to join Tibetan protests going on in Tibet.
The march was flagged off at 2 p.m. on Thursday from Kalachakra Phodang, Salugara.
The peace march, organised by North-East Zonal Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), has seen the participation of members of Regional Tibetan Women's Association as well as many local Tibetans and Tibet supporters.
Tibetans from Dimapur, Kohima, Shillong, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Ravangla and other places are taking part in the march to join fellow Tibetans in their ongoing protests against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.
16-year old Tenzin Passang and 78-year old Mr Lobsang, both from Ravangla Tibetan Settlement in Sikkim, are among the 300 odd marchers.
"The main aim of the march is to join the ongoing protest in Tibet," said Mr. Samdup, the media coordinator of the movement.
Photo by Tenzin Nyima for Phayul.com
“The peace march to Tibet is a determined attempt to join fellow Tibetans inside Tibet in our fight against China’s illegal and repressive occupation of Tibet,” Urgen from Northeast RTYC told Phayul.com
over the phone.
Pawo Dawa Gyalpo, president of North-East TYC, said, "This is the moment for action."
The marchers are planning to cover some 170kms in 8 days before reaching Nathu-La, a border post between Tibet and India. Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, it was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements.
One news media has, however, reported that the Sikkim government is already considering to stop the protesters at Rangpo, the border between West Bengal and Sikkim.
The marchers are, however, determined to go anyway and are expecting to enter Sikkim on coming on Monday, March 24, on their way to the Nathu-La border.
The peace marchers have put forward the following three demands to the Indian government and the international community to pay heed to:
1. To put pressure on the Chinese government to immediately stop violent crackdowns on Tibetan protesters in Tibet.
2. To urge for investigation by the UN into the brutal killings, detention, torture and arrests in Tibet since the protest started on March 10.
3. To boycott the Beijing Olympics as China has failed to improve its human rights record.