Tibetan exiles in India resume protest march
(dpa) - Two days after 102 Tibetan marchers were detained and amid violent protest in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, a second group of about 44 volunteers set out on Saturday from near Dharamshala in India to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.
The protestors resumed the march from Dehra, about 60 kilometres south of northern hill town Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama set up Tibet's government-in-exile in 1959 after fleeing from Chinese rule in Tibet.
The initial "peace march," as part of protests leading up to the Beijing Olympics, began on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against China, to highlight alleged human rights violations against Tibetans and demand greater freedom in the region.
Tibetan volunteers and refugees detained on Thursday and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days were being housed at a guest house in Jwalamukhi town, about 53 kilometres south of Dharamshala.
The refugees announced they would be on hunger strike until allowed to resume their march.
Around 50 Tibetans were detained in New Delhi on Saturday as they tried to storm the Chinese Embassy building to protest against the violent crackdown on Buddhist monks in Lhasa.
The state police also placed 50 Tibetans under preventive detention on Friday for trying to barge into the embassy premises of China.
The Indian government has said it could not permit Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India and nor could the Tibetans cross an international border without valid documents.
The state government of Himachal Pradesh, where Dharamshala is located, had given restraining orders to the Tibetans before they began their protest march, asking them not to move out of Kangra district, of which Dharamshala is the headquarters.
The march, with a proposed route across India to Tibet, has been organized by five Tibetan groups which are not directly affiliated to the Tibetan government-in-exile and allegedly do not have the support of the Dalai Lama.
Dolma Gyari, deputy speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, has condemned the arrests.
"These people were totally peaceful. If these people have to be detained, let them be jailed in Tibet, let them be jailed in China, not in India," Gyari said.
The New York-based Human Right Watch said on Friday that instead of arresting the protestors, the governments of India, China and Nepal should meet them and address their grievances.
"Peaceful demonstrations are protected under international and domestic laws and they should be permitted and not violently dispersed," the group said.