By Lobsang Yeshi | Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement
BYLAKUPPE, India, 21 July 2012
The “Flame of Truth” Torch Relay, launched in the Kochi city in Kerala on 6 of July, reached the biggest exile Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe on the morning of the 20th to a grand reception.
Escorted from Chennai by two representatives of TSAM students, Mr. Tsewang Dorjee and Mr. Tenzin Dalha, the “Flame of Truth” Torch arrived at the Main Gate of the Bylakuppe settlement around 10am, to a rousing reception of slogan shouting and cheers from the Tibetan delegates.
The reception group, comprising Tibetan MPs Mr. Jigme Jungney and Mr. Lobsang Yeshi, Settlement Officers Mr. Tsewang Ngodup and Mr. Jampa Phuntsok, President of the Tibetan Cooperative Society Mr. Pema Delek and Secretary Mr. Chime Dorjee, RTYC President Mr. Tsering Lhakyap, RTWA President Mrs. Tenzin Dolma, ITFS President Mr. Sadha Shivappa, Vice President Mr. Jawara Gowda, Secretary Dr AA Chengappa, executive member Mr. Rajendra and ITFS Coordinator Mr. Gelek Jungney, and others, received the Torch at the Settlement Gate.
The reception group at the gate also included over 50 representatives and camp leaders brandishing Tibetan National Flags and attired in makeshift jackets with slogans of “The Flame of Truth Torch Relay.”
Later the procession of the Reception group, led by the local Police and convoy of scores of cars and bikes, escorted the Torch through the settlement to the Palace where the main Reception is scheduled. Hundreds of local Tibetans lined the streets to greet the Torch with scarf and cheers of delight and excitement.
Amidst rapturous applause, cheers and raising slogans of “Bod Gyalo” and “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” from the several thousand Tibetans, the Torch arrived at the Palace to a grand reception. Mr JP Urs, the chief guest of the Reception Function & Convenor, South Zone, Tibet Support Group, escorted the “Flame of Truth” Torch to the Podium. Meanwhile hundreds of cheering Tibetans crowded around the Torch to offer scarf, and touch and feel the spirit of the Torch. Indeed the spirit of celebration and homage, jubilation and anticipation engulfed the Palace as slogans of “Glory to Tibet” rent the air.
The reception function began with the welcoming of the Torch by the chief Guest and the singing of Tibetan and Indian National Anthem, one minute of silence in mourning of the Tibetan martyrs, and recitation of the Prayer of Truth. Later Lugsam Settlement Officer Mr. Tsewang Ngodup delivered an introductory speech explaining the detail of the campaigns to be held in the settlement and the nearby towns.
Following this, Mr. Jigme Jungney, member of the Tibetan Parliament, addressed the gathering by elaborating on the origin of the “Flame of Truth” torch campaign during a Discussion Meeting at the 3rd Session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament as an effort by the Tibetan Parliament to launch more concrete political actions to highlight the Tibetan issue at this critical stage of Tibetan Freedom Struggle.
Mr. Jigme, while expressing his immense appreciation and respect for the bravery and sacrifices of the Tibetan brothers and sisters inside Tibet and offering solidarity with the families of the martyrs, pledged to make efforts to realize their sacred aspirations. He further urged the Tibetans to make concerted efforts to contribute towards the Tibetan freedom struggle, and suggested that it is time for Tibetans to spare a certain amount from their earnings to be contributed directly for Tibet Actions. Before concluding, he emphasized that the onus lies on China’s shoulder to end the ongoing incidents of self-immolations by Tibetans in Tibet, by fulfilling their aspirations and ending the causes for these supreme sacrifices.
In his address to the gathering, Chief guest Mr JP Urs, Convenor, South Zone Tibet Support Group, while expressing his support for the “Flame of Truth” torch relay, further urged “the friends and supporters of Tibet and Tibetans to launch Solidarity Movements throughout the world and the citizens of all nations and non-governmental organizations to put pressure on their governments to take a firm stand for Freedom, Truth, and Justice in support of the Tibetan struggle.
He further “hoped that the Flame of Truth” relay would serve as a useful campaign to understand the reality of the Tibetan problem, and appealed to the Office of the United Nations to take firm actions and deliver Justice to Tibet and its people.” Later Mr Jampa Phuntsok, Settlement Officer of Dekyi Larsoe, gave a vote of thanks.
Before the Reception function concluded, the crowd once again joined in a final spirited shouting of “Bod Gyalo” and “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
Earlier on 17 July, a press briefing about the campaign of the “Flame of Truth” Torch Relay in Bylakuppe was held in Lugsam Community Hall. Over 45 press reporters and media personnel from the towns around the area attended the Conference. The Press conference was addressed by Mr Sadha Shivappa, President of ITFS Bylakuppe, Mr. Jigme Jungney, and Mr Lobsang Yeshi, members of Tibetan Parliament.
In the following weeks, The Torch is scheduled to tour all the Tibetan camps, schools, and monasteries in the Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, and is also scheduled to tour and rally through the major neighbouring towns of Periyapatna, Medikeri, and Kushal Nagar on the 26th, 27th, and 28th respectively. A public talk, signature campaign, press conference and public rally will be organized in each of the towns with the participation of students from local schools and colleges and the local dignitaries and supporters. The ITFS Kushal Nagar jointly organizes the “Flame of Truth” Torch Relay in Bylakuppe and the nearby towns of Medikeri, Kushal Nagar, and Periyapatna.
The South India leg of the “Flame of Truth” relay, which was launched from the city of Kochi on 6 July, had so far travelled to Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Auroville, and Chennai before arriving in Bylakuppe in Karnataka state. During the past relay in South Indian cities and towns, many eminent individuals had shown their support towards the cause of Tibet by signing a petition to be submitted to the UN on December 10, 2012.
Following are the three demands of the relay:
- The United Nations must discuss the issue of Tibet based on the resolutions that it had passed in 1959, 1961 and 1965, and continuously make efforts to fulfil the substance of these resolutions.
- An independent international fact-finding delegation must immediately be sent to investigate the ongoing crisis in Tibet.
- The United Nations must take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.