DHARAMSHALA, September 22: Indian authorities have forcibly removed the three Tibetan hunger strikers in New Delhi and taken them to a hospital after all three of them showed major signs of deterioration in their health.
The three executive members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, were today carried away against their wishes at around 12 noon by a large contingent of Delhi police.
Dhondup Lhadar, vice-president, Penpa Tsering, organisational secretary, and Jigme Sholpa, cultural secretary were in the 20th day of their indefinite fast in “solidarity with the self-immolators inside Tibet and to appeal for immediate international intervention” in the unfolding crisis inside Tibet.
“All three of them held on to whatever they could while resisting their forced removal,” Tenzin Norsang, TYC joint secretary, who was present at the protest site said. “Volunteers and activists around them could do little as there was an overwhelming police presence.”
The three were taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the same hospital where Jamphel Yeshi, the 27-year-old Tibetan, who self-immolated in protest against China’s occupation of Tibet on March 26, was admitted.
The forced removal came after yet another official medical check-up this morning confirmed imminent danger to the health of the hunger strikers. All three have lost over 10 kgs since they began their campaign.
“Soon after the hunger strikers were forcibly taken away, the police also ordered the removal of the hunger strike tent from Jantar Mantar,” Norsang added.
The indefinite hunger strike had come under unusual pressure the very day it began on September 3 when the hunger strikers were detained later that day citing security reasons due to the presence of a visiting Chinese dignitary in the Indian capital. The three were released on September 6, following which they again resumed their indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar.
On September 18, the Delhi police issued a termination notice to the three TYC executives, after conducting medical check-ups for two consecutive days.
Medical officials had then expressed particular concern over the health of Dhondup Lhadar, who had lost 9kgs and referred him to immediate medical attention. Last year, Lhadar had taken part in a TYC hunger strike, going without food for 25 days and had since not fully recovered.
Norsang told reporters that TYC will continue with its planned activities in the coming days, including meeting with embassy officials.
With the hunger strike, TYC has been appealing the EU, UN, governments and NGOs to immediately fulfil the promises made by them during earlier TYC hunger strikes through a multilateral approach and also demanding China to grant immediate access to governments, international organisations and the media to travel in Tibet in order to understand the aspiration of Tibetans inside Tibet.