DHARAMSHALA, March 16: A ‘Tibet Advocacy Campaign’ held in New Delhi from March 13-15, coinciding with the budget session of the Indian Parliament, lobbied with several senior Indian leaders and received support from across party lines.
The three-day campaign aimed to “gather Government support and diplomatic intervention to redress the grim situation inside Tibet” was jointly organised by the Tibetan Women’s Association and Students for a Free Tibet, India and coordinated by the International Tibet Network.
The advocacy team met with over 20 members from both houses of the Indian Parliament, including Mani Shankar Aiyar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Dr Karan Singh, Dr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Inder Singh, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Ram Vilas Paswan, Agata Sangma, Smriti Irani, Joseph Toppo, Sansuma Kunggur Bwiswmuthiary, Rishang Keishing, Takam Sanjoy, Prof. Anil Kumar Sahani, Baishnap Parida, Pradeep Battacharya, Sohan Potai, Dr Pradeep Balmuchu, Deeraj Sahu, Dr Ajay Kumar and Ninong Ering, Minister of State, Minority Affairs.
TWA’s General Secretary Nyima Lhamo said “the advocacy team engaged the Indian Parliamentarians in a strategic discussion to ensure an institutional support and tangible action to assert multilateral pressure on the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet crisis.”
Since 2009, as many as 107 Tibetans living under Chinese rule have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
Outspoken Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar, former minister and now a member of Rajya Sabha told the team that the self-immolation protests inside Tibet are “critical and needs urgent intervention.”
Ram Vilas Paswan, chief of Lok Janshakti Party, while vouching his support for the Tibetan cause, produced a copy of a letter dated January 22 urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to “sympathetically look into the matter of heightened repression in Tibet.”
Responding to the advocacy campaign, independent Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekar sent a letter to the Prime Minister urge him to “support the cause of Tibetan freedom by issuing a strong statement in light of current human rights violation and crisis in Tibet and raise this issue with the Chinese President at the upcoming BRICS meeting on 26 and 27 March 2013, in Durban, South Africa.”
“Within 2 days, 11 MPs signed the ‘Stand up for Tibet’ pledge, which has already garnered 50,000 signatories. The copies of the signed ‘pledge’ and an exclusive appeal letter was delivered to the Prime Minister’s office today,” said Tsering Choedup from International Tibet Network.
The campaign also requested Indian Parliamentarians to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to address the Indian Parliament and also invite Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, to address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Indian Parliament.
Organisers said the advocacy campaign will be an on-going campaign in India with substantial follow-ups with Indian lawmakers.