Tibet Activists Storm Chinese Embassy in New Delhi
(With inputs from Phayul.com April 09, 2007)
Shibayan Raha, Campaigns Coordinator of Friends of Tibet being arrested at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on April 09, 2007. (Photos by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul)
New Delhi: Shibayan Raha, Campaigns Coordinator of Friends of Tibet and another activist Migmar Tsering were arrested on April 9, 2007 while attempting to storm into the Chinese Embassy located in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The two activists were demanding the release of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, the second most important religious figure, next only to HH the Dalai Lama.
The protest act was planned just in time before the forthcoming birthday of the Panchen Lama, who will be turning 18 on April 25 this year. He has been held incommunicado by China since 1995 after he was recognised by the Dalai Lama as the next Panchen Lama. He was by then only six years old. After years of worldwide protests and routine international pressure, whereabouts of him still remain unknown.
Wearing a "Free Tibet - Free Panchen Lama" t-shirt and holding a Tibetan national flag in his hand, Shibayan Raha, tried to self-immolate and ran towards the main gate of the Chinese Embassy shouting 'Free Tibet' and 'Release the Panchen Lama' slogans. He then started climbing the fence surrounding the Embassy before he was brought down by the security guards.
"As an Indian, I am ashamed of my government for constantly appeasing China in the name of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai and for failing to take any action for Tibet," said Shibayan Raha who had also earlier protested outside the Taj Hotel in Bombay on November 23, 2006 just before Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech at the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Summit.
Both Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering are currently detained in Chanakyapuri Police Station and will be possibly transferred to the Tihar Central Jail later in the evening. This is one of the rare incidents in which a non-Tibetan activist has taken such an aggressive stance for the cause.
November 23, 2006: Shibayan Raha, Campaigns Coordinator of Friends of Tibet unfurls the banner reading: "China Get Out of Tibet and Aksai Chin" outside the Taj Hotel, Bombay just before Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech at the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Summit. (Photo: Vikas Khot/Hindustan Times)".
Following is the copy of appeal letter addressed to the Chinese Embassy by the activists:
April 9, 2007
Mr. Sun Yuxi,The Ambassador,
People’s Republic of China,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi,
Ever since Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second important religious leader of Tibet after The Dalai Lama in 1995 at the age of six, he along with his parents had been held incommunicado by the Government of People’s Republic of China. The Chinese government had turned down repeated appeals for his release from UNO, European Union and leading human rights organizations. His ongoing detention is a gross violation of the United Nation's Charter on the Rights of the Child. In his place, The Government of People’s Republic of China, which calls itself secular, had installed their own Panchen Lama in their final push to erase the Tibetan Freedom Movement.
We the undersigned won't let the world and the Chinese Government sit in peace till the 11th Panchen Lama is released. Till out last breath we will continue to protest his ongoing detention. We will remain non violent and protest just as we are doing today and will continue to do so to remind the world of Chinese atrocities in Tibet and the 11th Panchen Lama who is the World’s Youngest Political prisoner and turning 18 years on 25th April, 2007.
We urge the Chinese Government through you to release the 11th Panchen Lama immediately and let him have his freedom and take his seat in the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the official seat of the Panchen Lama.
Migmar Tsering and Shibayan Raha
'Hunger Strike in Indian Prison Asking China to Release Spiritual Leader' (The Associated Press April 11, 2007)
New Delhi: Two Tibet protesters have begun a hunger strike in a New Delhi prison after they were arrested for trying to hold a protest at the Chinese Embassy, a Tibetan rights group said Wednesday. Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering, both members of the Friends of Tibet group, had been demanding the release of the Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's second-highest spiritual leader, chosen by the Dalai Lama, said Aprajita Sarcar, a spokeswoman for the India-based group.
China installed Gyaltsen Norbu, 16, as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, rejecting the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama whose whereabouts in China are not currently known, Sarcar said. Police detained the two men as they tried to scale a wall of the Chinese Embassy on Monday, and held them in New Delhi's Tihar prison, Sarcar said.
"The protesters are neither eating solid food, nor drinking any liquid since Monday," she said. Today in Asia - Pacific Chinese leader arrives in Japan on trip to bolster ties India's river delta islands washing away. Last year, Raha was arrested for carrying a banner reading "China Get Out of Tibet and Aksai Chin," territory China took control of after its 1962 war with India, outside a hotel in Mumbai just before a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Summit. He was later released on bail.
India has given shelter to hundreds of thousands of Tibetan refugees, but does not allow them to engage in political activity. Protests were banned during Hu's visit. The group said in a statement that it was gravely concerned about the health of the two activists. It asked the New Delhi police to release them immediately. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. He has been living in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala since then.
Arrested Activists Hospitalised
Update from Friends of Tibet (India)
The two young activists who protested at the Chinese Embsassy in New Delhion April 9, 2007 demanding the release of Tibetan spiritual leader PanchenLama have been forcefully hospilised today after their healthdeteriorated.Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering, the Indian and Tibetan activist duo havebeen taken to Tihar Central Jail on the day of their arrest. For the pastthree days, the activist have not been eating any solid food or drinkingany liquid.Today, as they entered third day of their no-food, no-water hunger strikeinside the jail, the jail authorities forcibly took them to jail hospital.Concerned Tibetans and Friends of Tibet activists who went to visit themat the prison couldn't meet the hunger strikers. Human Rights Law Network(HRLN) lawyer Jayashree who went to the prison also had to come backwithout seeing them, and was told by jail authorities that the arrestedprotestors are under medical care.Friends of Tibet remains deeply concerned about their health and is tryingpossible means to secure their release with the help of RTYC Delhi,Indo-Tibetan Coordination Office and Human Rights Law Network.
"Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering's hunger strike, begun in Tihar Jailimmediately after their arrest during a non-violent demonstration at theChinese Embassy in Delhi, reminds us how the non-violent struggle forTibet must be waged even as it brings to mind the words of MahatmaGandhi." It is not enough to refrain from taking the life of a livingbeing. He who has pledged himself to this vow may not kill, even thosewhom he believes to be unjust; he may not be angry with them, he must lovethem. He will not carry out the tyrant's will but he will sufferpunishment even unto death for disobeying his will until the tyranthimself is won over." In China, the hunger strikers would not have thefreedom to use the Gandhian methods they are now employing in India. Therecan be no doubt about the identity of the tyrant whom they are working towin over. From Tihar Jail they speak truth to China's rulers. The world iswatching."
(Thomas Laird, Author of 'The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the DalaiLama')
"My view is that from a moral-even a religious and spiritual point of view- it would be wrong not to oppose the injustice and evil that china iscarrying out in Tibet. In fact, not opposing injustice and evil wouldamount to committing moral violence - which, in my view, is a greaterviolence that mere physical violence also, not doing anything amounts tonon - action and must not be, glorified as 'non-violence' - which is anactive force. Where would the world be today if Churchill had not stood upagainst Hitler? Where would India be today if Gandhiji had not carried outhunger strikes to end Britain's unjust, colonial rule?"
(Lhasang Tsering, Former President of Tibetan Youth Congress)
"It is atrocious and a mockery of the rule of law that two young men -Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering protesting the continuing incarcerationof the Panchen Lama have been have been imprisoned in Tihar Jail and arenow on a hunger strike for the last four days. The two young menprotesting outside the Communist Chinese Embassy tried to force theirentry into the Embassy because they were not allowed to meet ComradeAmbassador and hand over a letter appealing for the Panchen Lama'srelease. They were not masked terrorists carrying bombs, nor machine guns.Admittedly when they were not prevented from meeting Comrade Ambassador,Shibayan Raha tried to climb the wall and he was promptly pulled down bysecurity guards probably a Delhi policeman. The symbolic protest by theseyoung men should have been followed by a symbolic adherence to the rulesof trespass.
Shibayan Raha and Migmar Tsering should realise that the presentgovernment of India couldn't care a damn if the two die. Raha wasabsolutely right when he said at the time of arrest: "As an Indian I amashamed of my government for constantly appeasing China in the name ofHindi-Chini-Bhai-Bhai and for failing to take any action for Tibet." He isabsolutely right. We all are ashamed of the cowardice of successivegovernments of India with our sellout of Tibet.Now that Raha and Migmar have made their point may I on behalf of theIndian Liberal Group and the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom pleadwith the two young men to give up their fast. We say to them "You need tobe alive to continue to struggle for the liberation of Tibetan fromCommunist China. Only our enemies will rejoice if you die." We are withyou in this struggle."
(SV Raju, Honorary Secretary, Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom andNational Coordinator, Indian Liberal Group)
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