Tibetans And Indians Demonstrate Against Chinese ‘Aggression’ – OpEd


Tibetan and Indian protestors demonstrated against China’s ‘aggression’ against Tibet as well as ‘incursions’ into Indian border states outside the Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata on Sunday.

Indo-Tibetan Coordination Office (ITCO), a part of the Central Tibet Organisation, led hundreds of demonstrators waving Tibetan and Indian flags as well as photographs of the Dalai Lama in a city, which half a century back used to have slogans inked on walls praising Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.

Some of these posters loudly proclaimed “China’s chairman is our chairman, China’s Road is our road”.

The state of West Bengal, with its nerve centre in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was ruled for 33 years by a Communist-led coalition.

The demonstration before the Chinese consulate coincided with the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa against Chinese rule in 1959, which led to the Dalai Lama and many of his followers fleeing Tibet for refuge in India.

“We would like India to recognize Tibet. It was an independent nation and a buffer between India and China till the PLA occupied the `roof of the world’ … Tibetan independence is a plus for India’s security,” said Jigmey Tsultrim, Coordinater of ITCO.

Ruby Mukherjee, convenor of ITCO’s eastern region, pointed to the “increasing cases of incursions by Chinese army into Ladakh and Arunachal” as signs for the need for a “buffer state” between the two Asian powers.

They also demanded that Tibetans should officially be given refugee status and the Dalai Lama be honoured with the Bharat Ratna.

Mukherjee said India should consider appointing a minister to look after Tibetan affairs in the same manner that “the US did recently.” Officials of the Chinese Consulate General refused to comment on the demonstrations when contacted. 

Subir Bhaumik

Subir Bhaumik is a former BBC and Reuters correspondent and author of books on South Asian conflicts.

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