Tibetan hunger protest enters ninth day | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Tibetan hunger protest enters ninth day

All but one of the six Tibetans participating in a hunger strike for Tibetan freedom lay nearly motionless in their tent near Jantar Mantar on Tuesday, their ninth day without food or water, reports Robbie Corey-Boulet.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2008 01:41 IST
Robbie Corey-Boulet

All but one of the six Tibetans participating in a hunger strike for Tibetan freedom lay nearly motionless in their tent near Jantar Mantar on Tuesday, their ninth day without food or water. The one who managed to sit up, a 31-year-old monk named Sodhak, strained to describe his physical ailments, which included dehydration and stomach pains.

“I’m feeling very weak now,” said Sodhak, who fled Tibet in 1997 to study Buddhism in Karnataka, according to a profile distributed by the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the organiser of the strike. “The Tibetans in exile are representing the Tibetans inside Tibet. We have to express their grievances.”

The strikers remain “determined to take their last breath on this same bed” should the Chinese government fail to meet their demands, said TYC vice president Dhondup Dorjee Shokda. These include ending the “brutal suppression” of Tibetans and “the dumping of nuclear and toxic waste in Tibet”; releasing Tibetan political prisoners; and enabling an international fact-finding delegating as well as media and humanitarian organisations to “assess the current situation” in the region. The strike is one component of the TYC’s “Tibetan People’s Mass Movement,” which will continue with a procession on Thursday from Rajpath to Jantar Mantar.

Shokda said the organisers hope to capitalise on the “heightened attention” being paid to China during the run-up to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Doctors at first predicted the strikers would last no more than seven days, Shokda said. He said their ailments now include fever, nausea, low blood pressure, dizziness and, more recently, an inability to urinate.

Delhi Police brought in a doctor from Ram Manohar Lohia on Sunday to perform check-ups, and three Tibetans were advised to cease striking immediately. They declined. Some politicians have encouraged the Tibetans to stop striking and instead use political means to pursue their agenda.