Tibetans in exile hold protests in Dharamsala

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Dharamsala, Mar 16: Thousands of Tibetan living in exile in India gathered in Dharamsala on Sunday to protest against Chinese Government's action against demonstrators in Tibet. To show their anger against China, the protesters walked over Chinese flags, which were laid down on the roads of Dharamsala, christened as 'Mini Lhasa' because of the heavy presence of exiled Tibetans in the hilly town.

With faces painted in the colours of Tibetan flag, the protesters pledged to 'take strict action against' the killings following action by the Chinese authorities against demonstrators in Lhasa. Atleast 10 people were reportedly killed in the largest ever demonstrations in nearly two decades against Beijing's 57-year rule over Tibet.

"We are demonstrating against Chinese Army's oppression and want the world to know about the situation in Tibet," said Tashi, a monk.

Earlier, Tibetans exiles resumed their march to Tibet on Saturday from Dehra town where the authorities had earlier detained 102 marchers as they tried to march ahead to the Chinese border to press claims for independence of Tibet and also protest against the Beijing Olympics.

The detained 102 marchers mostly Tibetans were send to 14 days judicial custody since Thursday.

Resuming the march, the Tibetans expressed hope that the Indian government will cooperate with them this time and they will not be detained en route as they would be returning to their homeland.

"We just resumed our march to Tibet. We were stopped earlier. Our 102 marchers are still in detention, but now we are another 50 marchers determined to go back to Tibet. We are really hopeful that the Indian government will not stop us today. We are just refugees wanting to go back to Tibet and we are requesting the Indian government to please not stop us," said Palkey, a marcher.

Meanwhile, a number of Tibetan activists gathered outside the 'Yatri Niwas' where 102 Tibetan marchers are held, to demand their release.

"The Tibetan peace marchers have been stopped here. They have been kept under custody and that is very disturbing to the Tibetans and that is why they have come down here in front of 'Yatri Niwas' to have them released," said B. Tsering, President, Tibetan Women Association.

India expressed concern over the developments in Lhasa and assured of a befitting response to deal with the issue.

Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche said reports of a high-level of violence indicate an atmosphere of complete chaos.

Meanwhile, around 70 Tibetan monks and nuns have gone on an indefinite hunger strike here to express their solidarity and support with fellow Tibetans.

The protestors continue to urge the Chinese Government to consider their demands for autonomy and possible independence from Beijing's rule.

In Siliguri, Tibetan monks participated in a candle light march on Saturday as part of their opposition to China campaign.

As the Beijing Olympics approach, the Tibetans are trying to reinvigorate their freedom movement and protest against what they see as China's illegal occupation of their homeland.

The Dalai Lama had earlier rejected a Chinese accusation that he was trying to sabotage the Olympics, saying he had always supported Beijing's right to host the Games.

The march to Tibet from India commenced on March 10 to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule that has been in force since 1959.

ANI

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