Former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Padma Vibhushan V. R. Krishna Iyer handing over the "Flame of Truth" to Tibetan MP Karma Yeshi to start the global campaign relay in Kochi on its south India leg on June 6, 2012.
DHARAMSHALA, July 8: The Tibetan “Flame of Truth” relay began its six-month long campaign journey from three different corners of India on July 6, coinciding with the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The torch relay, initiated by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, was simultaneously launched from Leh, Ladakh in North India, Shillong in Northeast India, and Cochin in South India.
The Tibetan parliament stated that the Relay is being carried out in “solidarity with the courageous and selfless acts of our brave brothers and sisters inside Tibet and to make the world aware of their selfless acts and aspirations.”
The Cochin leg of the Relay was launched by Padma Vibhushan V. R. Krishna Iyer, former justice of the Supreme Court of India. Local Tibetans and members of the Friends of Tibet, India joined the event.
Justice Iyer handed over the “Flame of Truth” torch to Karma Yeshi, a member of the Tibetan parliament, to start the south India campaign journey of the relay. He also signed the petition to be submitted to the United Nations, urging the global body to discuss the issue of Tibet based on its earlier resolutions, to send an independent international fact-finding delegation to Tibet and to take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.
“The people of Tibet are dying, they are becoming slaves, and we cannot allow that. They are entitled for full freedom and we stand for that. Support its culture and independence. We are with them,” Justice Iyer said at the launch.
The Flame of Truth will make its next stop in Coimbatore.
In a release at the launch of the Relay, the Tibetan parliament had blamed China’s harsh crackdown in Tibet following the 2008 uprisings for the current critical situation.
“Consequently, the Tibetan people have been setting themselves on fire one after another to demand a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue, return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and to let the UN and the international community know about the Tibetan people’s aspirations and the sorrows hidden deep within their hearts,” the exile lawmakers said. “Tibet today is like hell on earth.”
The Relay, after traveling around hundreds of cities all over the world will conclude on December 10, World Human Rights Day, with the submission of appeal letters and signatures, simultaneously to the UN Headquarters in New York City, UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and UN information office in New Delhi.
The Tibetan parliament has appealed to all Tibetans and supporters “to provide wholehearted and cooperative support when the relay campaign takes place in their concerned areas.”