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Tibetans-in-exile resume 'march to homeland'
April 18, 2008 17:11 IST
The refugees had embarked on a 'March to Tibet' on March 10, the 49th Tibet Uprising Day, to Lhasa.
The marchers said they would enter Tibet through Nainital in Uttarakhand. Their onward journey resumed from Rajghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi [Images].
"We want to extend our support to the movement inside Tibet. Seeing the present urgency, we have vowed to push forward with the March to Tibet," Tsewang Rigzin, President of Tibetan Youth Congress, said.
"We are refugees in India and according to the United Nation's human rights principles, a refugee can go back home. That is why we are moving towards our fatherland tomorrow and the Indian government should not stop us," he said.
The march, which started from Dharamshala [Images], the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, ran into trouble soon after it began, when the government arrested 100 marchers.
A second group of Tibetans resumed the march two days after the arrests on March 15. Both groups of marchers were reunited in Chandigarh and walked to New Delhi together. Before leaving New Delhi, the marchers participated in three days of protests at Jantar Mantar.
The protesters also criticised the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi. "On Thursday, the torch episode seemed completely like a private Chinese party. It was a torch of tyranny and a flame of shame. About 20,000 policemen were deployed for 3,000 Tibetans," claimed Tensin Choeyingo, president of Students for Free Tibet.
Workshops on non-violence were conducted for marchers so that they know what to do when stopped, said Nagawang Woebar, president of Guchusum Movement of Tibet (ex-political prisoners association).
"All marchers are leaving their families behind," he said.
"My parents are in Arunachal Pradesh. I have sent a letter to her (mother) that I am leaving. By the time she gets it, I will have already left. Anything can happen to me. But then I am here for a bigger cause. And to get anything you have to pay a price. My family will manage," said one of the marchers.