I am very concerned to learn that the Indian government has ordered the Tibetans' nonviolent March to Tibet stopped. I came to know through international media reports that early this morning Indian police arrested and forcibly removed the 100 Tibetan marchers from the road near Dehra bridge, 63 kilometers from Dharamsala. I understand that the marchers are now being held under house arrest in a dormitory at Jawalamukhi.
More than any other country, India has witnessed the enormous suffering of the Tibetan people - both inside and outside Tibet. For Tibetans worldwide, India holds deep spiritual significance and for many, it is a second homeland. I am very grateful to the people and government of India for the kindness and hospitality you have shown to the Tibetan people. I trust that you will now see the Tibetans' longing to reclaim their country is only natural and, as a nation that waged its own independence movement, I hope that India will show support for this initiative.
The March to Tibet is a peaceful march inspired by the great non-violent approach of Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian people. India is the largest democracy in the world and as such, I believe should respect the Tibetans right to March to Tibet. The Indian authorities issued a restraining order against the marchers on March 10th, alledging that their actions could lead to a breach of public peace. This is simply not the case. The Tibetan people have demonstrated their commitment to nonviolence time and time again and the Tibet movement is recognized worldwide as one of the greatest peaceful struggles of all time. These marchers have undergone strict nonviolence training and have stated their dedication to this approach.
The March to Tibet has gained enormous international support. I hope India will also support the Tibetan people in their just cause and facilitate their journey home. I call upon the Indian government to immediately release all of the marchers and permit this march to continue. This movement is a tribute to the spirit of the great Gandhi, whose teachings are being practiced by the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom.
Jai Bharat, Jai Tibbat