Kalimpong, March 17:About 2,000 Tibetans marched through the main streets of the town today as the outrage against the Chinese crackdown on the protests in Lhasa found its echo in the hills.
The marchers carried placards and shouted slogans against the Chinese government and in support of Tibetan independence. Cries of “Free Tibet” rent the air. Women protesters were seen weeping to mourn the deaths of their brethren back home.
“We will never give up until and unless Tibet is free. The Chinese must end their occupation of our homeland,” said Chumgdak, the president of the Kalimpong chapter of Tibetan Women’s Association.
Chumgdak added the world should come together to boycott the Beijing Olympics slated for August this year, especially since the Chinese aggression was there for all to see through international news channel.
A large number of women members in the crowd turned up in traditional Tibetan dress, while many youngsters wore bandanas carrying messages of freedom. Monks in their maroon robes were at the head of the procession.
“Tibetans from different parts of the region will gather in Siliguri tomorrow to march from Salugara to Court More. The Kalimpong contingent will be 100 strong,” Chumgdak said.
About 150 Tibetans had held a prayer service at Manilhakhang monastery here last evening for those killed in the latest round of protests in Lhasa. “We also said our prayers for world peace,” Chumgdak said.
Some marchers, however, seemed to suggest that passive protests alone would not be enough. “It is high time we abandoned the middle path of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and opt for drastic action,” said a marcher, Lobsang Dhendup, without elaborating.
Kalimpong used to be a hub of Indo-Tibetan trade till the Chinese aggression of 1962 put an end to it. The Tibetan presence is very strong in the town.