Tibetan MPs with Speaker of Gangtok State Assembly KT Gyaltsen (2nd L)
DHARAMSHALA, May 9: Exiled Tibetan parliamentarians met with senior leaders of the Indian state of Sikkim, which shares its borders with Tibet, as part of a nation-wide lobbying campaign to highlight the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.
The three-member Tibetan Parliamentary delegation, led by former speaker Pema Jugney, met state lawmakers, including the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly KT Gyaltsen and Deputy Speaker MB Dahal.
During the lobbying campaign in the state capital Gangtok, which began on May 3 and went on for six days, the Tibetan MPs also held parleys with senior ministers of the state, including NK Pradhan, Education Minister; Sonam Gyatso, Power Minister; T Tshering Bhutia, Minister of Water Security and Transport; Dawcho Lepcha, Minister of Irrigation; Bhim Prasad Dhungel, Minister of Forest and Tourism and D N Thakappa, Minister of Food and Health.
Tibetan MP and member of the delegation, Dhardon Sharling told reporters that the state leaders “spoke of the historical and cultural ties between Sikkim also known as Denzong and Tibet and expressed solidarity and steadfast support for the Tibetan political movement.”
Solidarity candlelight vigil in Gangtok, Sikkim.
The Tibetan Parliamentary delegation also received assurances of support for the passing of ‘an all-party parliamentary resolution on the Tibet crisis’ from PD Rai, a member of the Indian parliament from the state, and SK Pradhan, General Secretary of Sikkim Democratic Front, the state’s ruling party.
On May 7, members of the delegation led a mass candle light vigil in Gangtok in solidarity with the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests inside Tibet. Since 2009, as many as 117 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire calling for freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. 100 Tibetans have died in the spate of fiery protests.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile announced the all-India lobbying campaign in December last as part of the exile Tibetan administration’s attempts at garnering wider support for international intervention in the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.
The Sikkim leg of the campaign concluded with a press conference held sterday at the Press Club of Sikkim.
Following their visit to the state, the northeast zone delegation will take their campaign to the Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya. In January, the delegation had carried out lobbying campaign in West Bengal, Odisha, Chattisgarh, and Jharkhand.