Tibetans ushered in the Year of the Water Dragon with protests, hunger strikes and appealing for immediate United Nations Intervention against alleged systematic human rights violation inside Tibet and the suffering of Tibetan people in the hands of China. It was a truly different Loshar (New Year) this time.
Answering the clarion call by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to forgo Loshar celebrations, the Tibetans sat in a day long hunger strike at the Darjeeling Chowrasta from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday.
In his message to the Tibetans on the occasion of Loshar, Lobsang Sangay, the Kalon Tipa (Tibetan Prime Minister) stated “Please do not celebrate Losar this year, but do observe traditional and spiritual rituals by going to the monastery, making offerings, and lighting butter lamps for all those Tibetans inside Tibet who have sacrificed and suffered under the repressive policies of the Chinese government.
News from Tibet continues to be grim. Tibet is virtually sealed off with foreigners not allowed to enter. Even Chinese tourists are prevented from visiting Tibet, and the military buildup is very heavy. The Chinese government has launched a massive crackdown on Tibetans who visited India for the Kalachakra Teachings.
Several hundred Tibetans have been detained and are being forced to undergo political re-education. We are extremely worried over what is happening and what might happen inside Tibet. Under such circumstances, please do pray for all Tibetans inside Tibet.”
The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC,) Darjeeling, along with the Tibetan Women’s Association organized the day long fast in Darjeeling. “25 people in Tibet have undergone self emollition protesting against Chinese atrocities; for freedom and the return of His Holiness Dalai Lama to Tibet. With this hunger strike we express our solidarity with the 6 million Tibetans suffering in Tibet” stated Diki Dolkar, Vice President, RTYC, Darjeeling. A candle light vigil has been slated for February 25.
Cheengdek Koren from Norway, who is the Member of the Tibetan Parliament representing Tibetans of Europe, visiting her family in Darjeeling stated “However there is a silver lining. The United Nations Human Rights Commission has decided to take up the issue with China. We have been successful in attracting global attention.”
RTYC, Darjeeling, in a letter to Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General, United Nations wrote “ We would like to appeal you to take immediate and necessary steps to ensure that the inherent human rights of Tibetans are nor violated further and are protected.”
Loshar is traditionally a three day affair. The first day of the year is known as the Lama Loshar and is dedicated to the Lamas or the religious gurus and heads including the gods. The second day being the Gyalpo Loshar is dedicated to the King or the administrative head and the third day is the the Mimang Loshar dedicated to the general public.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided over this year’s official Losang ceremony at Tsug-la Khang temple in Dharamshala, followed by a day-long hunger strike.