By Tenzin Sangmo
The 56 Tibetans who were arrested some twenty kilometers from the Indo-Tibet border on August 4. (Photo courtesy: Marchers)
New Delhi, August 9 - The 56 Tibetans who were arrested some twenty kilometers from the Indo-Tibet border August 4 went on a hunger strike in police custody, denying themselves both food and water. They were released after a few of the marchers fainted while in detention.
Leading Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue who was released the day after he was arrested from the Buntar Airport August 3 has been picked up from Mandi district and held yet again at Kullu Police Station, Himachal Pradesh.
Two other marchers, Tenzin Norsang and Lobsang, both from Dharamshala were arrested by the Indo-Tibet border police on August 5 when they reached the last Indian border line, Gyue, 3 kms from Tibet. They were released two days later at Rekong Peio.
(Photo courtesy: Marchers)
"Our brothers and sisters are dying for freedom and living under virtual martial law, with thousands imprisoned and hundreds killed by Chinese authorities just in the last few months. We are returning to Tibet so that we may suffer with them, and if possible, struggle alongside them for freedom and human rights," said Shingza Rinpoche, the leader of the group, who is also a highly decorated Lama from Amdo.
High profile activist and poet Tenzin Tsundue, refused to eat or drink in judicial custody and had to be hospitalized on the fourth evening of his dharna. Tsundue has now been transfered back to jail but is reported to be doing poorly.
"Many years ago, we crossed the Himalayas to escape oppression at home. Now we are crossing the same mountains again – but this time in the opposite direction – to support our brethren inside Tibet in their nonviolent struggle for survival," said Tenzin Tsundue before his arrest, "We appeal to all governments and people of conscience to support our decision, for it is our right as Tibetans to live in Tibet."
This was not the first attempt by Tibetans in exile to cross over into their homeland. Many of these marchers were also part of Tibetan People's Uprising Movement's March to Tibet that began March 10 from Dharamsala. They were prevented by Indian authorities at Dharchula, the last Indian township before the border.With input from Marchers.