By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, March 15: A second batch of Tibetan exiles resumed the planned peaceful “Return March to Tibet” from Dehra, some 54 Kms from Dharamsala, around 10:00am today.
The coordinating members said the march, defying Indian government’s order banning peaceful protests against China, was re-launched in wake of China’s brutal crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators going on inside Tibet.
“The brave protests by Tibetans inside Tibet have made us more determined to see this March through to the end,” said Chime Youngdrung, President of the National Democratic Party of Tibet and one of the core marchers.
“As we witness a violent escalation on the part of the Chinese government in Lhasa, we know that it is even more important now for us to complete this march and return to our home to be reunited with our brothers and sisters who are battling to survive under Chinese occupation,” he said.
44 Tibetan core marchers are walking this time, after the first group of 100 core marchers had been forcibly stopped and arrested by Indian Government early Thursday morning before reaching Dehra town.
These 100 core marchers and two coordinators, who undertook the march from Dharamsala on Monday, March 10, 2008, are currently held in judicial remand in a state-run Yatri Nivas near Dehra, some 53kms from Dharamsala. They have been sentenced to 14 days in judicial custody by the Senior Division Magistrate in Dehra after the protesters refused to sign a bond that they would not participate in any further protest activities for the next 6 months.
Meanwhile, Indian police in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, where Tibetan Government-in-Exile is based, have set up checkpoints on the roads leaving town and are reportedly checking all buses keeping close watch on any Tibetan protesters that may be trying to leave the area. Tibetans have complained of some buses even being turned back.
In Tibet, violent protests have broke out in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet on Friday after Chinese authorities use brutal force to crackdown on peaceful protests by Tibetans across Tibet in the few days.
The angry demonstrators have called for Tibetan independence carrying the banned Tibetan national flags and shouting slogans resulting in clashes with Chinese police.
“The Chinese government has been trying to use the Olympics to promote itself in a new light but its crackdown in Lhasa shows the true face of China’s brutal rule in Tibet,” said B. Tsering, President of the Tibetan Women’s Association. “United as never before, Tibetans and our supporters around the world are standing together to demand freedom and human rights in Tibet,” she added.
The organising committees said “Like the first 100 marchers, the second group of marchers received training in non-violent resistance and discipline. They attended three-day nonviolence training from March 6 to 8, 2008, at Dolmaling Nunnery, near Dharamshala.”
“The Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement is a global movement of Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet taking control of our political destiny. The current primary effort of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement, the March to Tibet aims to revive the spirit of the historic national uprising of 1959, and by engaging in direct action, bring about an end to China’s 60 years of illegal and brutal occupation of Tibet,” the organisers say.
The Tibet issue is again on the international spotlight as China prepares to host the Olympics in less than 6 months.
Tibetan exiles, scattered around the world in small numbers, have been organising series of worldwide campaigns against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet this week. In many areas Tibetans have stormed Chinese embassies and consulates.
World leaders and rights groups have urged China to show restraint in dealing peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Tibet. The Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Government-in-Exile have called on Chinese leadership to refrain from taking repressive measures and asked international community to persuade China to address Tibet issue through dialogue with Tibetan people.
In Dharamsala, Tibetan Youth Congress members are set to launch a hunger strike later today to protest against China’s brutal crackdown on peaceful Tibetan demonstrators, reportedly killing 100s of them. Tibetan business undertakings and shops have remained closed since morning in a show of solidarity with fellow Tibetans inside Tibet.
For more information, visit: www.tibetanuprising.org