By Tendar Tsering
The formal reception ceremony of the north India leg of the the “Flame of Truth” relay torch at Tsuk-la-khang, Dharamshala, July 26, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, July 26: A grand reception was held for the “Flame of Truth” global torch relay in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala earlier today.
Thousands of Tibetans and supporters gathered at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple, to take part in the in relay, initiated by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in “solidarity with the courageous and selfless acts” of Tibetans inside Tibet.
The exile Tibetan leadership was also present in full strength at the formal reception ceremony of the north India leg of the torch.
In his address, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay reiterated his demand for an international fact-finding delegation to visit Tibet.
“We demand an international independent fact-finding delegation to visit Tibet because it’s important for the international community as well as the people in China to understand the real situation inside Tibet,” Dr Sangay said.
The de-facto Tibetan prime minister asserted that the responsibility for the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet lies entirely with the Chinese government.
“Lack of freedom and the repressive policies of the Chinese government are pushing Tibetans to set themselves on fire,” Kalon Tripa said. “The self-immolations are a political protest against the Chinese government.”
Since 2009, the fiery protests have witnessed 45 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
In his address, Speaker of the parliament, Penpa Tsering called on Tibetans and supporters to take wholehearted part in the torch relay. He also announced that the relay will be launched in Europe and North America on September 2, Tibetan democracy day.
The “Flame of Truth” began its global journey on July 6, coinciding with the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from three different locations; Cochin in south-India, Shillong in northeast India, and Leh in north India.
A student from Taiwan signs the signature campaign urging the United Nations to discuss the issue of Tibet at Tsuk-la-khang, Dharamshala, India, July 26, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
The torch also carries a signature campaign urging the United Nations to discuss the issue of Tibet based on its earlier resolutions, to send an independent international fact-finding delegation to Tibet and to take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.
The relay, after traveling around hundreds of cities all over the world will conclude on December 10, World Human Rights Day, with the submission of the signed petitions, simultaneously to the UN Headquarters in New York City, UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and UN information office in New Delhi.