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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet burns, India feels heat

March 19, 2008

Hindustan Times
March 18, 2008

Several Lok Sabha members were vociferous in their condemnation of the
Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protestors and demanded that the Centre
should also take a tough stand on the issue, urge the UN to intervene
and join the international community in asking Beijing to show restraint.

Disputing suggestions that the Centre was a mute spectator, External
Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government has already
reacted on the issue. He said the Centre has expressed “distress” over
the “unsettled situation and violence” in Tibet and wanted the causes of
trouble in the “autonomous region” of China to be resolved through
dialogue and non-violent means.

The issue came up during Zero Hour. BJP’s VK Malhotra alleged that China
was trying to “culturally finish” Tibet though its spiritual leader
Dalai Lama has sought autonomy — and not separation — from Tibet.

His colleague Aditya Nath warned that unless stopped, China might extend
its grip on Nepal, which would impact the northeastern states. There was
no reference to whether or not the Dalai Lama should have commented on
the issue since, as a spiritual person, he is not expected to indulge in
political activity on Indian soil.

But parties did not refrain from taking a dig or two at each other.

MPs like Aditya Nath, without mentioning the CPM by name, wondered why
some parties were silent on the Chinese developments.

And when Malhotra said he was not satisfied with Mukherjee’s statement,
the Leader of the House shot back by recalling the BJP’s tenure. “What
did they do when they were in power from 1998 to 2004? Or in 1977?” he
asked, adding that India’s policy vis-a-vis Tibet has been consistent
and remained the same no matter which government was in power.

The verbal duel continued even outside the House. Malhotra criticised
the Centre’s “weak response” and the Left’s silence on the issue, the
CPM said that the violence in Tibet was China’s internal affair.
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