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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan Marchers Arrested in India

March 14, 2008

New York Times
March 14, 2008

NEW DELHI — A group of Tibetan exiles in northern India who began a
six-month march this week to protest China's control of their homeland
were arrested on Thursday, and went on a hunger strike they say will
continue until they are released.

The marchers — more than 100 people, mostly monks and nuns — were
arrested early Thursday in the northern Indian state of Himachal
Pradesh, after the police seized a well-known activist in their group
and the rest of the marchers linked arms and sat in the road in
protest. The group started their trek from Dharamsala, the seat of the
Tibetan government in exile, on Monday, the anniversary of a failed
uprising in Tibet in 1959. They planned to reach the Tibetan capital
of Lhasa in August, as the Olympics Games open in Beijing.

Eight foreigners and three Indian citizens involved in the march were
released later on Thursday, but the police in Himachal Pradesh said
they were still holding 101 others, all Tibetans. The Indian
government says Tibetans are free to live and work in India was long
as they refrain from political protests.

Atul Fulzele, superintendent of police for the Kangra district of
Himachal Pradesh, where Dharamsala is located, said in a telephone
interview that about 100 people were arrested under criminal codes
that cover preventative arrests. Earlier this week, the police issued
a restraining order telling the marchers they would be detained if
they tried to leave Kangra.

"Today they were planning to move outside the Kangra district," Mr.
Fuzele said. "That would have been a crime." The marchers did not
resist arrest, he said, and there was "no law and order problem."

India's attitude toward Tibetans who protest China's control of their
birthplace has been slowly shifting from support toward repression,
say some human rights advocates. Arresting peaceful marchers, some of
whom were carrying photos of Mahatma Gandhi "signifies a toughness
that does not seem legitimate," said Meenakshi Ganguly, a South Asia
researcher for Human Rights Watch. "It was probably done because India
did not want to displease China," she said.

The protesters who have been arrested are being asked to sign a
statement that they will not participate in any more protests against
China or any other political activities, said Tenzin Palkyi, a
spokeswoman for the march. They are refusing to sign the statement,
and do not plan to eat any solid food until they are released, she
said.

A network of international nongovernmental organizations, human rights
groups and other activists have planned a series of protests against
China's control of Tibet, timed to the summer Olympics. These groups
say recent protests in Lhasa were the largest in nearly 20 year€s.
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