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Tibetans in Nepal pray for China quake victims

May 19, 2008

By Tenzin Choephel,  Correspondent
May 16, 2008

Kathmandu, May 15 - Over 200 Tibetans in Nepal offered prayers,
candles, flowers and khatas (silk scarves) as a mark of respect for
those who died in the recent devastating earthquake in China at
Maitighar Mandala in the evening and sent their message of
condolences to the families of the deceased. The service was also
meant for all the victims of the deadly cyclone in Myanmar.

The Nepali Police briefly interrupted the service forcing many
Tibetans to remove t-shirts, head bands and masks with slogans
reading 'Save Tibet', 'Stop Accusing the Dalai Lama', 'Human Rights
in Tibet' and 'Stop Killing in Tibet'. Tibetans complied with the
police order and the service convened without any further interruption.

Mr. Sudeep Pathak, Senior Nepali Human Rights activist spoke briefly
at the service and offered his condolences to the victims but also
condemned the recent grave comments of the Chinese Ambassador Zheng
Xialing about peaceful Tibetan protestors and Government of Nepal.

He said, "We are not anti-China and the Chinese Ambassador should
know that the Constitution of Nepal guarantees right to freedom of
expression and peaceful assembly that not only applies to Nepalese
but also to Tibetan refugees living in Nepal".

Tibetans in Nepal who have been protesting Beijing's crackdown in
Tibet since March 10 are temporarily holding their rallies respecting
the people of China and particularly family members who have lost
their loved ones. This was announced by the Nepal Tibetan Solidarity
Forum in a pres release today. The Forum has extended its 'deep
sympathy and prayers to the families of the victims'. They also said
that they would be organizing 'special prayer sessions at Boudanath
and Swayambunath Stupas for all victims to observe the first
'Dhuntsik' or completion of seven days after death according to
Tibetan custom'. The Forum has also requested Tibetans and other
volunteer protestors to 'refrain from doing so for the time being'.

One of the leading volunteers Nima told Phayul, "We are holding our
protest for one week to pay respect to all Chinese who lost their
lives, as human beings we grieve their losses but we will resume our
demonstration after a week and also have different plans". The last
Tibetan protest in Nepal was on Wednesday where 280 were arrested,
detained and released the same day.
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