Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Majnu Ka Tila residents want PM, Xi to talk Tibet

NEW DELHI: New Aruna Nagar is dressed up in patriotic colours. A day before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in the capital, Delhi's largest Tibetan resettlement colony at Majnu Ka Tila-with a population of about 5,000- is gearing up, with yellow-green flags (of Tibetan Youth Congress) being unfurled and posters with messages for Jinping dotting the colony walls and foot overbridges. 

It's an important day for the community as it desperately hopes that the new PM, Narendra Modi, will discuss the Tibet issue with Jinping. The youths here have been preparing for the meeting for a month now - they submitted a detailed memorandum articulating their concerns about human rights violations in Tibet to Modi last week. It pointed out that 130 Tibetans in the 17-35 age-group have self-immolated since February 2009. "We urge you, PM Modiji, to kindly speak up for Tibet," said the memorandum. 

The members of TYC have installed loudspeakers to reach out to the community about the big day and the protest rally they plan to hold from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar at 11am on Wednesday. They have no permission from police yet but they are not worried about being detained. "It's important that they talk about Tibet. The violation of the fundamental rights of speech and movement in Tibet needs to be discussed. If there were no violations, then why doesn't China allow independent international media to visit Tibet? It is an important security issue for India too as it has an extensive Indo-Tibet border where Chinese incursions are happening," said Tenzing Jigme (35), president of TYC. 

They are hopeful that India will stand with Tibet. "India has another reason to support Tibet-the Indian rivers that originate in the Tibetan plateau like Sutlej, Indus and Brahmaputra. They will not want to lose access to precious water sources," added Jigme. 

But many are worried over the recent comments by a Chinese expert, Ma Jiali from the Communist Party School in Beijing that Xi may urge Modi to not let Tibetans conduct any political anti-China activities. "We discussed these issues at the 15th Tibetan Parliament in Dharamshala. Let's see how the meeting goes," said one of the members. 

Unlike previous years when there was a massive clampdown on Tibetan settlements when Chinese leaders visited Delhi, on Tuesday there was hardly any police cover in the area. Tibetan Youth Congress, which has about 35,000 members globally, said they will ensure that at least a thousand members participate in the protest rally. Jinping's visit to India is also being observed as an international "day of action" when Tibetans in exile across the world will protest. About a hundred Tibetans will also protest in Ahmedabad when Jinping arrives there on Wednesday. 

The elders are a little emotional about the meeting. Most elders in Aruna Nagar voted for the first time in this Lok Sabha election. "India is our second motherland. I moved here in the 50s, right after I was born and I can't thank India enough for giving us shelter, education and jobs. I believe India and Tibet share the tolerance and spiritual values that China doesn't. So, I have a lot of expectations from the Indian government. It will do the best for Tibetan people both in India and Tibet," said Dorjee Tsering, an Aruna Nagar RWA member. Community members say their expectations are realistic. "We know that we may not get independence easily. We are now fighting for an autonomous status in China or what Dalai Lama calls the middle way approach," he added. 

Tobdan Tsering, cashier of the RWA who too voted this time, said: "We will be thankful if Modi raises the Tibet problem. Chinese authorities are torturing even (monks) in our monasteries."

No comments:

Post a Comment