By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 03 May: Bracing heat, humidity and rain, the participants of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) “Tibet Matters March” has arrived at Oodlabari, in Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal. The marchers were received by the regional members of TYC from Oodlabari, Mirik, Kurserong, Saluguara districts and the members of Regional Tibetan Women’s Association of Kalimpong along with some other organisations and individuals.
The President of TYC, Gonpo Dhondup stated that the March aims to create awareness about the urgency of the situation inside Tibet and to seek international support. Additionally, it also aims to urge the president of India, Mr Modi and the leaders of other nations to discuss and take action on the Tibet issue during the September G20 Summit to be held in India’s capital New Delhi.
As the march also condemns the “Seventeen-Point Agreement,” the choice of Tezpur as the final destination has a historical significance.
The Dalai Lama repudiated the agreement signed under duress once he arrived in exile in India at Tezpur on 18 April 1959 declaring that the ‘Seventeen-Point Agreement’ as having been thrust upon the then Tibetan government and people by the threat of arms.
The activists from TYC also reiterated their concerns and protested against China’s massive surveillance system, and mass collection of Tibetan DNA, samples including children as young as five years of age. The issue of Tibet crosses beyond Human rights and injustices.
TYC maintained that continued exploitation of Tibetan natural resources and ecosystems by the Chinese communist regime causes negative impacts on the downstream neighbouring countries and the consequences are only to deteriorate drastically in years and decades to come.
The eighty-plus participants came from various regional chapters of TYC in India and a single participant from Nepal. Today marks the fifth day and they continue through the heat, rain and humidity of the northeast part of India. The march which flagged off on 29th April will conclude on 23rd May.
Tibetan Youth Congress launched the march on the 29th of April from Gangtok, Sikkim. The march covering over 600 kilometres will see the activists from TYC cross West Bengal state and then conclude it in Tezpur Assam.
TYC, the organisation that advocates the independence of Tibet from China was founded on 7 October 1970. It has now grown into 88 regional chapters across the world with more than 35,000 members.