The formal reception ceremony of the south India leg of the "Flame of Truth" relay torch at Rabgyaling Tibetan Settlement, Hunsur, July 29, 2012 (Photo/RTWA Hunsur)
DHARAMSHALA, July 30: The ‘Flame of Truth’ torch relay, which began its global campaign journey on July 6, continues to travel across India, creating awareness and garnering support for the Tibetan struggle.
The south India leg of the “Flame of Truth” torch relay, after arriving in Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement last week, traveled around some of the major towns in the region.
The torch was carried through Madikeri, a hill station known equally for its scenic beauty and its martial Kodava tribes, which boasts the likes of General Cariappa, India’s war chief.
In Madikeri, the torch was received by Lt General B C Nanda (Retd.), a decorated military officer of the Indian army, The torch was also welcomed by the Deputy Commissioner of the town and members of the regional Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society.
Speaking at the reception function held in the Town Hall, Lobsang Yeshi, Member of Tibetan Parliament, blamed China’s “colonial occupation” of Tibet and its policies of “political repression, social marginalisation, cultural and religious assimilation” for pushing Tibetans to the brink of extinction.
He asserted that the ongoing wave of self-immolations and mass protests inside Tibet are sending a “powerful political message of Tibetan people’s aspiration for freedom and Independence from Chinese occupation.”
Lt General B C Nanda, in his keynote address to the packed hall of nearly 500 participants, reflected on the historical freedom struggles of Estonia and Bulgaria, calling them as inspirations for the Tibetan people He emphasised that Bulgaria, which was occupied by Turkey for over 500 years, finally gained its independence after a long-fought freedom struggle.
“I immensely appreciate and respect the Tibetan people for standing resolutely alone in their struggle against China despite lack of any concrete political support from anywhere,” Lt. General Nanda added.
Earlier that day, the “Flame of Truth” was carried from the main square of the town and passed through the town market before stopping at the DC Office where a memorandum was submitted. All along the procession, leaflets were distributed and signatures were collected for the petition appealing 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 south India leg of the torch relay also campaigned in the neighbouring towns of Periyapatna and Kushal Nagar before being passed on to Rabgyeling Tibetan Settlement.
The north India leg of the torch relay, which was accorded a grand official reception in the exile Tibetan headquarters last week, has been traveling around schools, institutions, monasteries, and offices in the town.
All the offices of the Central Tibetan Administration also received the torch.