Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay speaks to reporters before leading a massive protest rally in New Delhi on January 31, 2013. (Phayul photo)
NEW DELHI, January 31: Top Tibetan leaders, including Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Penpa Tsering today marched in the streets of New Delhi, leading over 7000 Tibetans in a protest rally in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet.
The second day of the four-day Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign in the Indian capital began earlier today with an interfaith prayer meet at Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
Religious leaders of Buddhist, Christian, Islam, Jain, Hindu, Sikh, Bahai, and Jew faiths gathered in the serene surrounding of Rajghat and offered prayers for Tibetans inside Tibet and the success of the Tibetan struggle.
H.E. Kirti Rinpoche, the religious head of Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, where more than 30 self-immolations have taken place, offered prayers for Tibetan self-immolators. Since 2009, as many as 99 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting Chinese occupation and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Over 7000 Tibetans taking part in a protest rally in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet in New Delhi on January 31, 2013. (Phayul photo)
Following the prayer service, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected leader of the Tibetan people and Speaker Penpa Tsering led a massive procession from Samtha Sthal to Jantar Mantar.
The marchers, numbering over 7000, carried Tibetan national flags and raised slogans for Tibet’s freedom and international intervention in the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.
The crowd then gathered at Jantar Mantar, the protest site in the heart of the Indian capital, where a young Tibetan Jamphel Yeshi self-immolated in March last year.
Representatives from various religious faiths, including Sanjay Singh of the Gurudwara Krishna market, Bante Sumit Anand of the Mahabodhi Society of India, Farid Ahmed Nizami of the Dargah Nizamuddin, Father Dominic of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Archbishop House, Tanveer Ahmed Sehar, ex chairman of the Central Haj Committee India, Girish Jujal, founder of Anjuman Parjandani Hind, and Monana Soeb Kasmi, National President of Jamiad Ulema Hind, addressed the gathering.
The day concluded with intense sloganeering and recitation of ‘Prayers of the Words of Truth’ led by artists from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
As part of the solidarity campaign, a public film screening of the film ‘Tibet in Song’ by former political prisoner Ngawang Choephel, took place at the Jamia Islamia University today. Tempa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spoke at the event and engaged in a post-screening interactive question and answer session.
Also, a panel discussion on ‘Tibet: The current situation and its implications for India and China' was held at the India International Centre. Sikyong Sangay, Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, Lalit Mansingh, former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, and Jayadeva Ranade, former Cabinet Additional Secretary were the key speakers.
H.E. Kirti Rinpoche paying his respect at Rajghat following an inter faith prayer service for Tibetans inside Tibet on January 31, 2013. (Phayul photo)
Thousands of Tibetans from all over the Indian subcontinent are currently taking part in solidarity events from January 30-February 2, organised by the exile Tibetan administration, aimed at highlighting the tragic situation inside Tibet and to draw attention of the international community to the sacrifices of the Tibetans inside Tibet.