His Eminence Gaden Tri Rinpoche, the 102nd Throne-holder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism leading prayer service attended by Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, and Speaker Penpa Tsering in New Delhi on February 1, 2013. (Phayul photo)
NEW DELHI, February 1: A daylong prayer service and hunger fast marked the penultimate day of the four-day Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign in the Indian capital New Delhi.
His Eminence Gaden Tri Rinpoche, the 102nd Throne-holder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism led the prayer service attended by Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, and Speaker Penpa Tsering.
Thousands of Tibetans carrying Tibetan national flags and placards calling for international intervention in the ongoing crisis in Tibet filled the lanes of Jantar Mantar reciting prayers.
Following the prayer service, students of the Tibetan Children’s Village School, Gopalpur enacted a stirring play on the ongoing wave of self-immolation.
Many in the crowd wiped away tears as the students, all of whom have left their homes in Tibet to study in exile, related the current repressive situation in Tibet forcing Tibetans to set themselves on fire.
Since 2009, as many as 99 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s occupation and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Pledging his support and solidarity with the Tibetan cause, India’s former Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh briefly addressed the gathering. The senior BJP leader expressed his hope for an early resolution of the Tibetan issue and a stop to the self-immolations.
Both Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche and H.E. Gaden Tri Rinpoche spoke after the prayer service.
As part of the solidarity campaign, a Tibetan delegation comprising of Kalons and MPs have received assurances of support from senior representatives of the United Nations Human Rights Council and foreign diplomats from 20 countries over the last three days.
The delegation headed by Kalon Pema Chinnjor of the Department of Religion and Culture have been appealing governments to urge China to allow unfettered access to Tibet for the media, parliamentary and diplomatic delegations in order to ascertain the ground realities.
The ongoing solidarity event marks the first occasion when the Kashag (Cabinet) and the Tibetan parliament have come together to organise a mass campaing in the Indian capital.
Speaking to Phayul, an elderly Tibetan farmer from south India, Dhondup, expressed his gratitude to the exile administration for organising the timely event.
However, he added that more needs to be done.
“I am nearing 70 and when I see Tibetans not even in their 20s burn themselves to death, it drives a knife through my heart,” Dhondup, clad in a Tibetan national flag said.
“The popular support from Tibetans in exile for this campaign should give confidence to our exile leaders to continue organising campaigns.”
A Tibetan nun from Dharamshala spoke in support.
“The least we Tibetans in exile can do is to raise slogans, walk on a march, and sit in protest to let the world know what our brothers and sisters in Tibet are suffering,” she said.
“If the leadership provides a platform to express our solidarity and grievances, we will come and do whatever needed.”
Nearly 5000 Tibetans are currently gathered in New Delhi to take part in the Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign to “express solidarity with the Tibetans inside Tibet, raise awareness and seek international support for the tragic situation in Tibet.”