Over 3000 Tibetans from all over Indian and Nepal marched from Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial site to the Jantar Mantar in the nations capital under the banner of the Tibet Solidarity Movement yesterday.
The Movement, jointly organised by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and the Kashag (cabinet) began yesterday with 35 Tibetan parliamentarians sitting on a 24-hour hunger fast.
Before beginning the march, Tibetans held a multi-faith prayer service at Rajghat for the Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet and the many who are still incarcerated in Chinese prisons.
The marchers, carrying Tibetan national flags and images of the nine Tibetans who have self immolated in Tibet since March this year, shouted slogans calling for the Tibet’s freedom and an end to China’s repressive policies in Tibet.
The gathered Tibetans also observed a day-long hunger fast at Jantar Mantar and carried out a candle light vigil later in the evening. Senior Indian leaders and Members of Parliament visited to show their support and solidarity.
In the Tibetan exile seat of Dharamshala, north India, Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama observed a day long fast and led a special prayer service along with Gyalwang Karmapa and Kirti Rinpoche at the Tsug-la Khang temple. Thousands of local Tibetans and supporters took part in the official gathering led by Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay.
Further north in Leh, Ladakh, the entire Tibetan population of the ancient city gathered at the Leh City Jokhang temple for the special prayer service from 10 am to 4 pm.
Down south, the largest Tibetan settlements came out in full strength to show solidarity and support for the ongoing struggle inside Tibet.
In Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement in exile, over 13,000 Tibetans gathered to offer prayers and pay tribute to the sacrifices being made by Tibetans inside Tibet.
In the other large settlement of Mundgod, over 10,000 Tibetans came together in a display of unity of the exile Tibetan population for the struggle being carried out by the Tibetans inside Tibet.
Unfazed by the arrest of local Tibetan leaders by the Nepali police on “precautionary measures”, Tibetans in Kathmandu gathered in their hundreds to offer prayers and join Tibetans the world over in remembering Tibetan martyrs.
Elsewhere, in the major cities of Asia, Europe, and the Americas, special prayers sessions and solidarity activities were held.
Solidarity activities in Ngaba
Despite the disturbing revelations of continued military siege and armed patrolling in Ngaba, eastern Tibet by foreign reporters, Tibetans in the distraught region braved threats to their life and security and observed solidarity activities.
According to the exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, Tibetans in the Ngaba district, responding to the exile calls of observing October 19 as a day of prayer and fasting, assembled in the town to show their solidarity.
“A large number of people, wearing Tibetan traditional dresses, gathered in the streets of Ngaba county town, reciting prayers and observing fast in a demonstration of solidarity today,” Kirti Monastery said in a release.
“On two occasions, the assembled Tibetans attempted to stage public protests but were quickly apprehended and dispersed by Chinese police and soldiers wielding firearms.”