5,000 Tibetans from all over India plan to show up in New Delhi to protest the Olympic Torch Relay on April 17th.
New Delhi/Dharamsala: Emboldened by the demonstrations against the Olympic torch in London and Paris this week, scores of Tibetans have started arriving at the national capital to put up a strong protest when the flame is carried through the city April 17.
About 5,000 Tibetans are expected to reach Delhi from all over India over the next one week for the protest against the torch in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. About 2,000 of them have already arrived. Delhi itself is home to a few thousand Tibetans, including over 3,000 Tibetan students.
Scores of Tibetans and Tibet sympathisers are expected to join the pro-Tibet and anti-China protest against the Olympic torch in New Delhi April 17.
A 'march to Tibet' that started from Dharamsala - the Himalayan abode for the Tibetan spiritual and temporal head Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile - which has now been truncated till Delhi has already entered the city's outskirts.
The protest marchers, numbering over 200, will arrive at the Majnu ka Tila Tibetan settlement on Thursday in northeast Delhi.
Prominent among the protestors arriving in Delhi is Tenzin Tsundue, the one-man army who has embarrassed Indian and Chinese leadership in the past by waving Tibetan freedom flags and banners in front of visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao in Mumbai and Bangalore.
"We will put up our protest against the torch in Delhi," Tsundue told IANS.
Since India has the highest number of Tibetans outside Tibet, the protest here is expected to be bigger than London or Paris where anti-China protestors were able to reach close to the torchbearers.
Delhi Police is taking no chances with the torch relay route with barricades being put up at most points to keep the protestors at bay. National Security Adviser M K Narayanan has assured China that foolproof security would be provided to the torch on its Delhi-leg.
The 'march to Tibet', initiated by Tibetan NGOs, was taken over by the exiled government a few days ago following violence inside Tibet and protests by Tibetans all over the world against China.
The march and other protest activities of the Tibetan NGOs are now being monitored and regulated by the newly formed Tibetan Solidarity Committee (TSC). The committee, headed by exiled Tibetan parliament speaker Karma Choephel, has seven members, including the parliament deputy speaker Dolma Gyari, two ministers and three MPs).
The march was originally started by NGOs like Tibetan Youth Congress, Friends of Tibet, Students for Free Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum (an association of former Tibetan political prisoners) and Tibetan Women Association (TWA).
The TYC pulled out of the protest march after the TSC took over and told the volunteers to go only till Delhi and stop all violence against China.
The TSC has already dispatched nearly 35 Tibetan MPs to all parts of India and Nepal to tell Tibetans about the latest happenings in Tibet and the position of the exiled government. The MPs are also mobilising Tibetan volunteers for the torch protest in Delhi.
India is home to over 100,000 Tibetans living in exile here. The Dalai Lama arrived in India in 1959 after the Chinese occupation of Lhasa. The globe-trotting Tibetan leader and 1989 Nobel Peace laureate has since been living in Mcleodganj near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh after being granted political asylum in India.
The Indian football (soccer) team captain, a Buddhist and resident of Sikkim (a state bordering China), has given notice that he won't take part in the relay, protesting China's human rights record and actions against Tibet. There's pressure on cricketer and Indian ubercelebrity Sachin Tendulkar to also boycott the relay. I already posted this link earlier talking about the present predicament of the various sponsors of the torch, once proud to land what looked like a dream ad spot that has quickly turned into a nightmare.
I want to join in, but don't really know where to begin. I don't think most people I know in Delhi even know or care about this. If I can even show up, this would be the first time in my life I've actually joined a protest and for no good reason I'm apprehensive. I'm sick and tired of reading the news and getting pissed off and then overwhelmed and helpless, sitting on my ass in front of my computer, unable to do a damn thing about all the evil and bullshit I see.
I'm not idealistic. I don't have such romantic notions that just one person can make a difference, or that there is pure goodness buried deep in every man and woman. But on the other hand I really love the demotivational poster explaining "no one raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood." It's really a question of what I want my life to contribute to. I don't think I can make a difference all on my own, and I can't control or change much in my tiny sphere of influence in such a massive world. But what I can control is what I personally contribute to. I plan to go to my grave knowing that my insignificant, miniscule, statistically negligible contribution to society did not add that one drop to the flood of bullshit, at least. Even if it makes no difference in the end, at least it'll make a difference to me I guess.