Former Chief Election Commissioner TN Sheshan meeting with Tibetan MPs in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
DHARAMSHALA, January 28: A Tibetan parliamentary delegation on a lobbying tour of south India met with eminent personalities in the state of Tamil Nadu and spoke at leading educational institutions including IIT, Madras.
The south India Tibetan parliamentary delegation concluded the final leg of their month long lobbying campaign in Chennai, following successful efforts in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, and Pondicherry.
The Tibetan MPs have been lobbying for international intervention and support from the Indian government and its people for the peaceful resolution of the ongoing crisis in Tibet. Since 2009, nearly 100 known Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
In the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai, the Tibetan MPs called on former Chief Election Commissioner of India and the Ramon Magsaysay Award winner TN Seshan.
The delegation submitted a memorandum and apprised him of the critical situation inside Tibet. The former fierce bureaucrat assured the delegates that India will “definitely do its best to support Tibet” and said: “Truth shall prevail and Tibet will ultimately regain its glory. So keep up the fight.”
The six Tibetan MPs met another former CEC, TS Krishna Murthy, who expressed his disapproval of the self-immolation protests.
“But I am equally worried and concerned about the situation in Tibet. I hope we could do something concrete to help resolve the Tibetan crisis. I shed my tears for the Tibetans in Tibet,” Murthy said.
The delegates then called on Cho Ramaswamy, a former MP and a noted journalist, widely regarded as the political guru of Chief Minister Jayalalitha.
Cho, while expressing his support for Tibet noted India’s helplessness as a friend of Tibet due to its own problems with China.
“Public opinion must be built on the issue of Tibet. I will surely write more on Tibet in the future,” Cho assured.
The Tibetan delegation then addressed the students of the prestigious IIT Madras hosted by Dr Sudarshan Padmanabhan, Associate Professor of Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Tibetan MP and member of the delegation, Lobsang Yeshi addressed the students and delved into the current situation in Tibet, especially the critical situation leading to the spate of self-immolations.
He spoke on China’s “unabated political repression, religious persecution, and cultural assimilation” of Tibetans in Tibet and elaborated on China’s “vicious designs of demographic aggression in Tibet, forceful removal of Tibetan nomads and farmers, exploitation of mineral resources, and militarisation of Tibet aimed at total annihilation of Tibetan race.”
He also urged the youths of India to be wary of China’s anti-India containment policies and the threats posed to its national security.
Later, the delegates also spoke at the University of Madras. Prof Dr Ramu Manivannan, head of Department of Political Science hosted and presided over the presentation. In his welcome speech, Dr Mani briefed the audience about his long association with the Tibetan cause and the need for concerted efforts in promoting the issue of Tibet amongst the Indian public.
He emphasised that Tibetan students have “national goals to fulfill and should not be carried away by personnel ambitions.”
The Tibetan MPs also called upon the Human Rights Commissioners of the State Human Rights Commission Tamil Nadu, Chairman Dr K Baskaran, Commissioner T Rajendran, ADGP (IPS,Retd.) and Commissioner Mrs Jayanthi, IAS.(Retd.).
The delegates screened a documentary on the current situation in Tibet and also apprised them on the ongoing human rights crisis.
According to Yeshi, the commissioners expressed their concern about the “deteriorating condition” in Tibet and assured that the Commission will “raise the issue at every national platform.”