For Immediate Release
Tibetan Parliamentary Delegation kick-starts North-East India leg of ‘All India Lobby Campaign’
Meets Political Leaders and Bureaucrats of Sikkim State
Gangtok, May 8, 2013: A six-day lobbying work in Sikkim kick-started the North-East India leg of ‘All India Lobby Campaign,’ an undertaking of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, in the light of the escalating self-immolation crisis inside Tibet.
Sikkim shares border with Tibet and since the 2006-reopening of Nathu La (mountain pass that connects Sikkim with Tibet) following numerous bilateral trade agreements between India and China, it has witnessed increased trading activities on both the Indian and Tibetan side of the border.
From May 3 to May 8, a three-member Tibetan Parliamentary delegation met with the State leaders and bureaucrats based in Gangtok, the State capital: Speaker of the Legislative Assembly- Shri K. T Gyaltsen, Deputy Speaker – Shri M. B. Dahal, Minister: Shri N.K. Pradhan, (Education), Shri Sonam Gyatso (Power), Shri T.Tshering Bhutia (Water Security and Transport), Shri Dawcho Lepcha (Irrigation), Shri Bhim Prasad Dhungel (Forest and Tourism), Shri D. N. Thakappa (Food and Health), Member of Legislative Assembly- Shri Dorjee Namgyal, Chief Secretary- Smt. Rinchen Ongmu. The State leaders spoke of the historical and cultural ties between Sikkim also known as Denzong and Tibet and expressed solidarity and steadfast support for the Tibetan political movement.
Shri P.D. Rai, member of Lok Sabha representing Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), the state ruling party and Shri S.K. Pradhan, General Secretary of SDF party assured party support for the passing of an All-Party Parliamentary resolution on the Tibet crisis’ in the Indian Parliament.
The other MLAs of the State, all of whom happen to be members of the SDF party, were apprised of the campaign and its goals through a memorandum submitted to them.
Since the year 2009, the Tibetans inside Tibet have resorted to a new heightened form of non-violent political protests: that of self-immolation. Since February 27, 2009 till April 24, 2013, 117 Tibetans (men, women, monks, nuns) have set themselves alight protesting the brutal Chinese rule and 100 of them have succumbed to their injuries. They have made a clarion call for: freedom inside Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama into Tibet. Tibet today remains under virtual lockdown and a communications blackout thus exacerbating the situation.
This year the Tibetan Parliament in exile launched a massive ‘All-India Lobby Campaign’ to highlight the critical situation inside Tibet and to seek timely support of the Indian leaders and people while alongside calling for immediate global intervention to end the crisis inside Tibet.
While deeming the unflinching support of the Indian Government and its people towards the Tibetan people as significant, the delegation appealed the State leaders for substantial and public expressions of solidarity and support amid the unprecedented spate of self-immolations by Tibetans inside Tibet and the subsequent deepening crackdown by Chinese Government. The delegates also urged India to engage in urgent diplomatic actions that assert multilateral pressure on the Chinese leadership to address the true grievances of the Tibetan people inside Tibet.
The members of TPIE led a mass candlelight vigil yesterday evening in Gangtok. The rally signified an expression of public solidarity with the supreme sacrifices made by Tibetan inside Tibet. The Sikkim leg of the campaign concluded with a press conference held this morning at the Press Club of Sikkim.
Led by former speaker Pema Jungney, the delegation also include two women parliamentarians- Yangchen Dolkar and Dhardon Sharling, The first phase of the ‘East and Central India’ lobbying campaign was held in the month of January in four Indian states: West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. Four North-East States: Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya constitute the second phase of the ‘All-India Lobby Campaign.’
Mr. Pema Jungney, 9736185856, email: [email protected]
Ms. Yangchen Dolkar, 9436103446, email: [email protected]
Ms. Dhardon Sharling, 9418791189, email: [email protected]