Coinciding with the gathering of over a million devotees in the largest central Indian city of Nagpur, Indian friends and supporters of Tibet took out a bike rally yesterday under the banner, “Free Tibet; Save India.”
More than 100 bikers rode from Wardha to Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur, the place where millions of Buddhist devotees gather annually to commemorate the stalwart Indian leader Dr. Babashahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s acceptance of Buddhist vows in 1956.
The 55th year celebrations of the ‘Dhamma Chakra Pravartan’ saw the participation of political bigwigs including Maharashtra state Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and BJP President Nitin Gadkari.
The bike rally campaign aimed at advocating the importance of a self ruled Tibet for India’s long-term security was organised by the National Campaign for Tibetan Support (NCFTS), a support group consisting of the Buddhist community of Wardha and its surrounding areas.
Speaking at the start of the rally, executive secretary of NCFTS Arvind Nikose expressed the need for greater political support for the Tibetan cause by the Indian government.
“We will ensure that the issue of Tibet will reach the common masses of India, and call on all who support Tibet to lobby our own elected representatives to table a resolution in the parliament,” Nikose said.
Representing the Delhi based India-Tibet Coordination Office under the Central Tibetan Administration, Tenzin Norbu said that he was “pleased to see such great numbers of people supporting Tibet’s cause” and thanked the organisers and participants “for their dedicated support to the free Tibet – save India campaign.”
The bikers made frequent stops on the way, distributing printed materials containing speeches made by Indian leaders on Tibet and speaking to the public on the security implications of a free Tibet.
Local MLAs, India Tibet Coordination Office Coordinator Mr. Tenzin Norbu and Tsering Choedup from International Tibet Network were few invitees to the rally.