Day after Olympic flame, 300 Tibetans behind barsApril 18th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) About 300 Tibetan protesters were behind bars in the Indian capital Friday, a day after the Beijing Olympic torch’s India run that left Tibetans here scrambling to locate their detained and injured colleagues. “Last night (late Thursday) many of my men were severely injured after the police caned them. The collar bone of one man has been broken while a 17-year-old girl’s leg has been fractured,” said Dhondup Dorji, vice president of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
“Around 300 Tibetans are in various jails across the city. About 130 are in Tihar jail. We are trying to locate them; in case they are not released, we will carry on our movement from the jail,” Dorji told IANS.
Police sources confirmed the figure and said the protesters had been held for illegal demonstration and causing damage to public property, charges which attract a fine of up to Rs.200.
They would be released in a day or two after due process, said a police official.
Dorji said some of his colleagues were arrested while protesting at Dhaula Kuan in southwest Delhi as the Olympic flame was being taken to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to be flown to Thailand for the next leg.
“They (the injured) have been lodged at Mayapuri police station since yesterday and they have not eaten anything to protest their humiliating treatment. The police have also not allowed anyone to meet them,” Dorji said.
For those supporting the cause of a ‘Free Tibet’, the initial disappointment for failing to disrupt the torch relay Thursday has given way to a sense of vindication that they had at least brought the issue to the forefront.
“Earlier nobody knew about Tibet as it was not a part of textbooks. But a lot has changed. Now even taxi drivers and auto drivers are talking about the issue,” said Aprajita, a member of the Friend’s of Tibet Group.
“This success is all because of China as their paranoia for security really highlighted the Tibetans’ cause. Thank you China!” Aprajita added.
Various Indian professionals have decided to intensify the efforts to reach out to people.
“All the Indians who came in touch during the protests have not taken to rest yet. It is a long fight against a totalitarian regime in China. We will focus on spreading awareness about the issue,” said Ritu Varuni, an architect supporting the cause of Tibet.
The Friends of Tibet Group is also waiting for Aug 8, when the Olympics will begin in China.
“We have been screening films on Tibet and may organise a big musical concert on Aug 8 against the Olympics which China has no right to host,” Aprajita said.
Tenzin Tsundue, who has succeeded in giving the security men a slip many a times, said: “I will continue to support the Tibet’s freedom movement and will definitely come out with a plan to carry forward the movement.”