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15 days without food, hunger strikers soldier on
Phayul[Tuesday, September 18, 2012 14:40]
Indian government medical officials giving TYC Vice-President Dhondup Lhadar a check-up on September 17, 2012. (Photo/TYC)
Indian government medical officials giving TYC Vice-President Dhondup Lhadar a check-up on September 17, 2012. (Photo/TYC)
DHARAMSHALA, September 18: The three Tibetan indefinite hunger strikers entered their 15th day of fasting yesterday in New Delhi appealing for an end to the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.

With their health showing significant signs of deterioration, the Delhi Police brought Medical Officers to conduct their first official medical check up on the hunger strikers. The officers expressed concern over their health and recommended immediate medical treatment. However, the three refused any medical help and vowed to carry on their hunger strike.

Dhondup Lhadar, vice-president of Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile has already lost 9kgs while Organisational Secretary Penpa Tsering has lost 8kgs and Cultural Secretary Jigme Sholpa has lost 9kgs.

The TYC hunger strike tent at the Jantar Mantar has now become a rallying point for Tibetan activities in the capital.

Yesterday, TYC Joint-Secretary Tenzing Norsang and Social Services Secretary Yeshi Therchein visited the Embassy of Switzerland and met Martin Strub, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission.

Strub was presented with photos, videos, and chronological evidence of the critical situation inside Tibet, heralded by the self-immolation of 51 Tibetans in Tibet calling for freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return.

Through the Embassy, TYC requested the government of Switzerland to raise the issue of Tibet at the 21st session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations taking place in Geneva.

TYC President Tsewang Rigzin leading a peace march to the Delegation Office of European Union in New Delhi to submit a memorandum. (Photo/TYC)
TYC President Tsewang Rigzin leading a peace march to the Delegation Office of European Union in New Delhi to submit a memorandum. (Photo/TYC)
Strub appreciated the evidence presented by TYC representatives in the face of China’s misinformation and propaganda, and assured that Switzerland will “definitely do its best” to highlight the issue of Tibet.

TYC said it plans to visit embassies of different countries in the coming days and seek to hold discussions with their representatives, appealing for their support in raising Tibet at the UN meeting.

Representatives of numerous Indian Tibet support groups also visited the hunger strikers and expressed support and solidarity with TYC and their three fasting leaders.

In a joint press release, the Indian groups appealed to the UN and the European Union to “fulfill their promises of raising the issue of the ongoing spate of self immolations inside Tibet with the Chinese government and to send independent fact finding delegations to Tibet.”

They also called upon the government of India to use its influence on the Chinese leaders to “ease the suffocating inhuman conditions inside Tibet which have lead the Tibetan youths to the extreme desperation of self immolation.”

They further expressed serious concerns over the lack of political and moral courage among world bodies like the UN and the EU as well as governments across the world, who they said are “shying away from their responsibilities of asking the Chinese government to stop its inhuman treatment of its Tibetan colonial subjects.”

TYC earlier submitted a memorandum to EU, appealing the body to take “long-due concrete actions” in order to improve the plight of the Tibetans inside Tibet, as per the assurances and promises they had made during the TYC Indefinite Hunger Strike in April, 2011.

Tibetan activists joined TYC President Tsewang Rigzin and Norsang in marching to the Delegation Office of European Union in New Delhi, carrying traditional Tibetan khataks and flowers.

The TYC delegation met Anne Marchal, Political Representative of the EU in India and held “in depth discussions” on the worsening situation inside Tibet. They also urged EU to fulfill their promises on Tibet, made during the earlier TYC indefinite hunger strike.

Marchal assured the TYC representatives of EU’s continued support to the Tibetan cause and said that he will be submitting the memorandum to EU President Martin Suhulz.

Article updated on September 19, 2012 16:32 IST.
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