Biggest meet till now to decide Tibetan movement’s future startsNovember 17th, 2008 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS
Dharamsala, Nov 17 (IANS) The biggest meeting of the top exiled leadership of the Tibetans till now began at this Himalayan abode of the Dalai Lama Monday to seek suggestions to decide the future of the Tibetan movement against Chinese rule. Over 500 top Tibetan leaders from the parliament of the government-in-exile that has its headquarters here, ministers, heads of NGOs, representatives of religious schools, Tibetan leaders from other countries and volunteers of the Tibetan struggle are participating in the six-day meet.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of the virtual failure of the eighth round of talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese leadership this month. The Tibetan leader has already expressed disappointment that China was not doing enough to resolve the Tibet issue.
A statement by the Kashag, the Tibetan cabinet-in-exile, issued at the inaugural ceremony of the meet said: “It is inevitable that we must contribute and come together to closely discuss the views of the Tibetan masses on what future action needs to be taken on Tibet. Therefore to convene this meeting today is the need of the hour. We believe this meet will be considered an important event in our history.”
Kalons (ministers) in the government-in-exile, who had earlier sought that they be exempted from the discussions at the meeting, have been told to attend sessions but not to speak on its behalf.
“The kalons will keep mum. Basically; the intention is not to influence the meeting,” said Karma Cheophel, speaker of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD), the Tibetan parliament-in-exile.
He said that the summary of suggestions made by various quarters had been given to all the participants at the meet to discuss and bring out a collective stand on the future of the movement.
The Kashag statement added that the exiled government and its administration had not come to the meeting with pre-conceived decision on its outcome.
“It is not the case of the CTA (Central Tibet Administration) coming to a decision beforehand and then going to the people for consultation. This has not happened in the past and the CTA will never think of doing something like this in the future. A change in policy need not come from this meeting,” the statement said.
“The reasons why this special meeting was called are as follows. Since March, in most parts of Tibet, Tibetans, irrespective of whether they were young or old, monks, nuns or lay people, male or female, spontaneously and courageously came together to demonstrate, with full knowledge of imminent dangers to their lives, expressing their anguish and dissatisfaction at the oppressive and brutal ultra-leftist policies of China and to protest the total lack of freedom of speech and thought. This resentment has been building up for the last 60 years,” it said.
The statement added: “However, the peaceful and lawful manner in which the Tibetans demonstrated their long pent-up sentiments were crushed with brute force and merciless killings, torture, detentions and injury. Under such dire circumstances, Tibetans in Tibet pinned all their hopes on fellow Tibetans in the free world. It is needless for us to mention that, at such times, we cannot be insensitive to their cries. We must show solidarity with our brethrens and we must do whatever in our means to improve their situation.”
The meeting comes on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan revolt of 1959 after which the Dalai Lama and his followers fled to India. The Dalai Lama lives in India along with some 100,000 Tibetan exiles. His government-in-exile is not recognised by any country.