To draw international community‘s attention to the acute crisis facing monks of Kirti Monastery in Tibet, 100 Tibetan Buddhist monks on Tuesday embarked on an ambitious peace march from Dharamsala to the Indian capital of New Delhi.
The “All Monk Peace March from Dharamsala to Delhi”, by monks belonging to the Kirti Jeypa Monastery based here in Dharamsala and Sukhe Kirti Monastery in Darjeeling in northeast India, is being organised to “Save Ngaba Kirti Monastery in Tibet” that is reeling under intense Chinese security crackdown.
Braving intense summer heat, the peace marchers will cover a distance of some 500 kilometers (more than 300 miles) before arriving in Delhi in a week’s time.
The monks took part in a mass prayer service, led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple (TsuglagKhang), here this morning before undertaking their arduous journey.
Well-wishers offered auspicious Tibetan scarves (Khatak) and onlookers conveyed support as the monks carrying Tibetan and Indian National flags began their peaceful march from the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglagkhang) here.
“This march is aimed to express support to our brethrens and fellow monks in Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, Tibet,” the Dharamsala-based kirti Jeypa Monastery said in a statement.
The peace Marchers have a three-point demand – to draw support and attention of international community, to call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Tibet and to urge China to respect human rights, including religious foredoom, of Tibetan people.
Once in Delhi, the task for these monk marchers is not yet over. They said they would continue to organize other campaign activities to achieve their goals.
Mrs Yeshi Dolma, the president of the Central Executive Committee of Dhomey (Amdo), which is supporting the march, said peace march will be covered by walking in most part and in vehicles in unpopulated areas. Dolma, who is also a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, said the Marchers are expected to reach Delhi in five to six days time.
China security forces conducted a major raid into the Ngaba Kirti Monastery three days back, resulting in the death of at least two elderly Tibetans and arrest of more than 300 monks.
In the ensuing incident, several local Tibetans camped around the monastery to protect the monks from security clampdown, have also been reportedly injured.
Following the 2008 widespread anti-China unrest in Tibet, which was largely led by monks and nuns, Chinese Communist government launched renewed and intensified “Patriotic Education” campaign covering almost every sections of society and mainly targeting the monastic institutions.
Under the campaign, Chinese “work team” officials are sent to especially monastic institutes on a regular basis to “educate” monks and nuns to be patriotic towards nation and one’s religion, and to oppose ‘splittist’ forces, which include denouncing the revered Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom China reviles as a “splittist”.
Meted out with serious threats involving imprisonment and expulsion from monasteries, monks are compulsorily forced to give their signatures or finger prints to express their non-allegiance to the Dalai Lama.
The monks of the Kirti Monastery have vehemently been opposing China’s state-sponsored political indoctrination campaigns from taking shape in the monastery.
Several armed security forces were deployed at the monastery following the death last month of a monk Phuntsok, who set himself in ablaze in protest against religious oppression at Kirti Monastery and Chinese rule over Tibet.