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10th session of Tibetan Parliament concludes, Jhonang supporters end hunger strike
Phayul[Friday, September 25, 2015 17:06]
By Tenzin Dharpo

Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, September 25: The 10th session of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile concluded today and so did the hunger strike protest by supporters of the Jhonang tradition demanding representation in the Tibetan lawmaking body. The nine men including monks had fasted for eight days outside the Tibetan parliament. Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay and the Tibetan parliament’s speaker Penpa Tsering offered water to the nine men who broke their fast this morning. Khen Rinpoche (Abbot) of Jhonang said, “We are putting an end to the protest as we have been requested by the secretaries of the Gadhen Podrang (Dalai Lama’s private office), the Kashag as well as the speaker of the TpiE in good faith of the assurances”.

At a brief press conference, the President of the Jhonang Welfare Association in Exile Tsangyang Gyatso spoke of their collective hope for changes and determination to push on in the absence of the any development in the parliament about their demands.

He said, “We will continue to strive for our demands if they are not considered as assured by the leadership, the parliament resumes every six months and we will be there also until our demands are met”.

He told reporters to pass on the message that they are not asking for any special privileges rather asking for equal footing with reasonable and valid claim to do so.

“Our primary demand is to amend the Charter in making it 5 major sects and the Bhon religion rather than 4 major sects and the Bhon religion”.

Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
One of the Jhonang supporters reportedly attempted self immolation on Tuesday evening near the venue of the protest but was thwarted by officials of the department of Security, according to Tibet Sun. The 38 year old monk had submitted his testimonials in writing to the Department of Security and also brought gasoline, according to the same report.

The 2015 winter session of the Tibetan Parliament went over the annual reports submitted by each of the seven departments of the Central Tibetan Administration with the last day spent mulling over the ‘Education Policy’ of the Sherig (education) department which oversees the education of 24,000 students.

The resolution to establish an education department office overseas to supervise the rising number of Tibetan students there did not get the majority with 18 members of Parliament rejecting the motion.

The motion to grant membership to the Jhonang tradition as a separate sect failed in the last parliament session. The TpiE has this time around agreed to four of the seven demands which are to provide equal seats in religious meetings, special political meetings and Tibetan Buddhist Scholar meetings and also to include Jhonang tradition in the Tibetan School’s teaching curriculum.
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