Tibetans on second march to Chinese border

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Ropar/Dharamsala/Dehradun, Mar 19: Tibetans on a second march to the Chinese border set out from Ropar, Punjab, on Wednesday. Forty-seven Tibetan marchers and 15 foreign supporters carrying banners and flags of Tibet walked along the town's roads en route to their nextestination Chandigarh city from where they will then head to New Delhi.

"We are going from Mcleodganj, Dharamshala to Tibet via Delhi. And the reason we chose Delhi is because there are a lot of Tibetans in Delhi, the capital city of India. So we thought to get more media attention plus to mobilise Tibetans and Indians alike, that's why we chose Delhi," saidenzin Palki, a member of the organising committee of the Tibetan marchers. The marchers are planning to get to Tibet via New Delhi, where they hope to coincide with the arrival the Olympic torch as it passes through the Indian capital.

Indian police appeared to have softened their stance on Tibetan protesters marching to the Chinese border, allowing a group of marchers to continue on their way from Dharamsala.

Last week, a group of about 100 marchers were detained by police on the orders of the Indian government, but a second group, which picked up the route from where the first group was stopped, has been allowed to go ahead.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Tibetan monks, nuns and school and college students took out a rally in Dharamsala to support the Tibetan struggle and highlight their cause.

Robed Tibetan monks and nuns supported by Buddhist monks from other parts of India, chanted prayers as they walked through the town's streets carrying banners and the flags of India and Tibet.

"Here, we have around 4 to 5 hundred monks and nuns and school and college students and we organised this in support of the Tibetan struggle and the Tibetan struggle, the path to the Tibetan struggle is peace and non-violence,' said Dolma, a Tibetan freedom activist.

Similar protest were also witnessed in Dehradun, where Tibetan protestors took out a rally and burnt an effigy of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and the Chinese flag.

"Today, here we the youth Congress and Tibetan Women's Association together we are requesting the international community and especially the Indian government...till now we are appealing since 49 years and no one is listening to our cause. So, we are appealing to listen to our cause and support us,' said Pemba Tshering, a Tibetan protestor.

China warned of a "life and death" struggle with the Dalai Lama on Wednesday, as it sought to end a wave of protests in its Tibetan regions with arrests and tightened political control.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has accused the Tibetan spiritual leader of masterminding the protests from Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and the government-in-exile are based, which culminated in a riot on Friday in Lhasa, Tibet's capital which claimed almost 80 lives, though the Chinese authorities claim only 13 were killed..

The Chinese authorities are keen to stamp out the unrest quickly and restore stability in the far-west before the Olympics, which they hope will showcase China's prosperity and unity.

The Tibetan protests add to the ruling Communist Party's headaches ahead of the Olympics, which include the risk of social instability due to mounting inflation after years of breakneck growth, fears of militant attacks by Uighurs in the remote Muslim region of Xinjiang, and criticism of the pollution in Beijing.


ANI

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