Tibetan political prisoner released after 2 years’ imprisonment; writes declaration upon release

DHARAMSALA, June 17: Tibetan natives of Goetsa village in Serta county in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham gave a grand welcome to Tibetan political prisoner, Youdrum as he returned home after his release from prison on June 12, 2014.

Youdrum had been arrested twice by Chinese authorities and had spent a total of around five years in prison since 2008. He was first arrested in Serta county during the 2008 protests for unfurling the banned Tibetan national flag and raising slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and released on February 19, 2011 after spending close to three years in Chinese prison.

Youdrum in an undated photo
Youdrum in an undated photo

In 2012, he was arrested again for forming an association along with few friends, including writer Gankye Drupa Kyab who was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months’ imprisonment called “Marshog Goelen Tsogpa” (Eng: Anti-Communist Association). After spending close to two years in Chinese prison he was finally released on June 12, 2014.

As he returned to his native place after his release, the local Tibetans put up tents, lined up their motor vehicles and with traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarves (Tib: Khatag) in their hands accorded him a grand welcome.

Tibetans in Youdrum's native village welcoming him with traditional Tibetan ceremonial scrarves as he returned home.
Tibetans in Youdrum’s native village welcoming him with traditional Tibetan ceremonial scrarves as he returned home.

Immediately after his release, Youdrum wrote and distributed a declaration in Tibetan language explaining the reasons behind his protests and calling for unity among Tibetans which he called “Dag Gi Tsondrol Dang Dragtam” (Eng: My Release and Declaration).

Following is a rough English translation of the declaration:

“My dear fellow Tibetans,

How are you?

As you all know I was imprisoned for a few years and also endured considerable suffering. But I don’t regret having endured that suffering as it was my honest and earnest service towards the Tibetan people and Buddhist religion; and also to express solidarity to and remember those great Tibetan martyrs who, under great hope and faith sacrificed their lives for us.

Today, I would like to say a few words. As someone rightly said, “Tibetan people need to be saved by Tibetans themselves, Others cannot save Tibetans”, we need to stick to our ideals and goals. Without being swayed by money and position we need to recognize our friends and foes. For the sake of immediate and future cause, unity and harmony among its people is of utmost importance for any human race.

In these critical times, rather than fighting among ourselves for little benefits in darkness and singing songs in dark caves, it is the responsibility of each and every Tibetan irrespective of age, gender and position who have the heart and courage to strive hard to protect our religion and culture from being trampled under others feet.

Lastly, I would like to add that I have mentioned these things as a Tibetan whose blood originated from Tibet and, whose mind and soul depends on the welfare of the Tibetan people. Although my knowledge and mental capacity is limited, I request everyone to keep these things in your mind.

 Written immediately upon release from prison by Youdrum from Serta on June 12, 2014.”

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