By Tendar Tsering
School students of Tibetan Children's Village School, Upper Dharamshala carrying out a 'Pekhor' in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet on June 8, 2012. (Phayul photo/Tendar Tsering)
DHARAMSHALA,June 8: In a first of its kind campaign for Tibet, over 200 students from the Tibetan Children’s Village School, Upper Dharamshala today took part in a ‘Pekhor,’ a religious march, in a show of solidarity and support with Tibetans inside Tibet.
Pekhor is a Tibetan religious ritual of carrying holy scriptures and walking around one’s locality.
“The student body have voluntarily organised the Pekhor in view of the ongoing human rights crisis and severe repression inside Tibet,” Phuntsok Namgyal, the director of the school told Phayul.
The students began their walk at around 2 pm, taking a clockwise circumambulation of the town, carrying the scriptures on their shoulders through the upper reaches of Dharamshala via Dharamkot to the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. The students then walked down to Mcleod Ganj and joined the Lingkor path around the Tsug-la Khang and the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“Our brothers and sisters, even teenagers in Tibet are sacrificing their lives, setting themselves on fire or standing in front of Chinese guns protesting China’s occupation of Tibet,” Mingyur Dorjee, a student participant told Phayul. “Through this merit-earning campaign, we want to send out a clear message that we in exile are always with them and stand in support of their demands for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”
Last week, hundreds of Tibetan school and college students had led a rally for Tibet and sat on a nightlong prayer service at the Tsug-la Khang coinciding with the holy month of Saka Dawa.
The same group of around 160 students from the TCV School, Suja had earlier shaved their heads and sat on a 12-hour hunger fast in protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet.
The ongoing fiery wave of self-immolations in Tibet has witnessed 38 Tibetans set their bodies on fire since 2009.
In the latest incidents of self-immolations, two young Tibetans set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang temple in the heart of the Lhasa, Tibet’s capital on May 27. Three days later, a mother of three young children, passed away in her self-immolation protest in Zamthang eastern Tibet.
School students in Tibet have also led campaigns against policies of the Chinese government.
Around 700 school students in Rebkong, eastern Tibet had carried out a large protest calling for language rights after they were issued textbooks in Chinese language earlier this year in March.
In October 2010, thousands of school students in the region had marched on the streets, protesting a Chinese government decision to replace Tibetan with Chinese language as the medium of instruction in Tibetan schools.