By Tenzin Dedan
DHARAMSHALA, Nov 12: Sandesh Meshram, a prominent Indian Tibet supporter and Regional Convener of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause – India (CGTC-I) has started his fifth cycling rally, which will cover eight Indian states from West Bengal to New Delhi. The primary focus of Meshram’s campaign is to advocate for the release of Karma Samdrup, a Tibetan environmentalist sentenced to 15 years in a Chinese prison for his environmental activism.
Karma Samdrup, the founder of the ‘Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, was convicted on June 24, 2010, for his efforts to safeguard Tibet’s delicate environment and rivers, vital freshwater sources for millions in neighboring countries. The imprisoned environmentalist has also campaigned for the release of his two brothers, Chime Namgyal and Rinchen Samdrup, incarcerated in 2009 for exposing local officials in eastern Tibet involved in poaching endangered species.
The cycle rally, known as the 5th Janjagaran Cycle Yatra, was initiated by Meshram in Kolkata on November 5, 2023. Covering a distance of approximately 2500 km, the yatra will traverse West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana, and conclude in New Delhi on December 10, 2023.
The overarching goal of the cycle yatra is to raise awareness among the Indian population regarding the critical situation in Tibet under the oppressive policies of the Chinese Communist regime. Specifically, the campaign seeks to highlight the unjust imprisonment of Karma Samdrup and calls for the release of all Tibetan political prisoners facing false charges and torture in Chinese prisons.
Meshram, also known as Samten Yeshi, has a history of organizing such cycle yatras in support of Tibet. The current initiative follows four previous campaigns, with the first in 2014 covering 4000 km from Nagpur to five states, the second in 2016 spanning 1200 km from Nagpur to Bodh Gaya, Bihar, the third in 2017 covering 1270 km from Bodh Gaya to Nathu-La Pass, Sikkim, and the fourth in two phases in 2019-2020 and 2021-2022, covering a total distance of 9500 km from Dharamshala to Bengaluru.
According to tibet.net, Meshram has covered 92 km in five days, making stops at Kharagpur and Nayagram in West Bengal and Jamshedpur and Bundu in Jharkhand..