Two days ahead of Chinese Premier's visit, Tibetans get go-ahead to protest

Two days ahead of Chinese Premier's visit, Tibetans get go-ahead to protest

International Tibet Solidarity Day to be observed today


Two days ahead of new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s maiden visit to India, New Delhi and several other cities across the country will on Friday witness a major demonstration to flay Beijing’s rule in Tibet.

The exiled Tibetans and their Indian supporters will observe “International Tibet Solidarity Day” in New Delhi on Friday.

The day-long programme will begin with the exiled Tibetans and the Buddhist monks from India as well as other countries like Myanmar, Japan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh offering prayers at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Rajghat in the morning.

Interestingly, the new Chinese Premier, who is set to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday, will also commence his maiden visit to India by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

The Tibetans will also join their Indian supporters in a sit-in demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi later in the day to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

They will also pay tribute to the 117 Tibetans, who have immolated themselves since February 2009, calling for freedom and return of the community’s spiritual leader Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Earlier protests

New Delhi had seen similar protests ahead of the then Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the city to take part in the BRICS Summit in March 2012.

A Tibetan youth, Jamphel Yeshi, had set himself on fire in New Delhi during a protest at Jantar Mantar.

While he died a day later, police arrested a number of Tibetan activists from across the national capital to ensure that no untoward incident could take place during the visit of Hu — ostensibly after Beijing subtly nudged New Delhi.

Govt-in-exile

A spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Tenzin Lekshay, told Deccan Herald that Delhi Police has already given the permission to hold the prayer meetings at Rajghat and the sit-in protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar on Friday.

Similar prayers and peaceful demonstrations against Chinese policy on Tibet will also be held at the seat of Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh as well as in some cities in the US and Europe.

New Delhi’s go-ahead to the Tibetans and their supporters to hold the protest demonstrations just a couple of days ahead of Li’s arrival in the city assumes significance, as the new Chinese Premier’s maiden state visit to India has already been overshadowed by the recent border stand-off at Depsang Bulge in Ladakh.

The issue of Tibet is a card that India counts on to manage its complex relation with an increasingly assertive China. New Delhi, however, officially maintains that neither Dalai Lama, nor anyone of over 1,50,000 Tibetan refugees living in exile in the country should take part in any political activity in India.

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