LEH, Apr 17: Even as Tibetan refugees held large scale demonstrations against China in New Delhi to coincide with the Olympic torch relay, thousands of people led by Buddhists took out a massive rally here today in support of Tibetans.
Since morning, thousands of demonstrators had converged at the road leading to Polo Grounds here to hold a solidarity march in support of Tibetans’ demand for autonomy.
Snowfall in Leh had cancelled several flights for here yesterday.
"We are used to such weather swings... It will not deter us from carrying out our programme," the organisers had said yesterday. Though chilly winds continued throughout today, a clear sky ensured a pleasant afternoon.
Buddhist Monks led the demonstration, followed by school students, youth, women and local residents.
Hundreds of school students could be seen holding banners and play cards on the main road. The rally was led by Buddhist Monks associated with Ladakh Buddhist Association and Ladakh Gongpa Association.
Three decked up vehicles carrying huge portraits of the Dalai Lama were part of the procession which covered a distance of over three kms through the heart of the city before converting into an assembly at the Polo grounds.
The demonstrators raised anti-China slogans and appealed to the United Nations to take appropriate action against the Chinese "cultural genocide" in Tibet.
Slogans like ‘Jago-Jago Bharat Jago and ‘wake up-wake up, India wake up’ also filled the air.
Fifteen effigies of dead bodies also formed part of the rally.
These effigies represent the deaths of over 200 innocent Tibetans at the hands of Chinese security agencies in and around Lahsa’’ read a banner.
The rally-cum demonstration also gave chance to students to display their skills in Tattoo making. Most of the students had painted their cheek with pro-Tibet slogans. Some of them had even painted their heads with Tibetan flags.
Addressing the gathering at the Polo grounds, Ladakh Buddhist Assoication president Lama lobzang Angchuk said the Buddhists of Ladakh were with the Tibetans who were fighting for a just cause. "We must pray for those killed and maimed in violence there," he added.
"The presence of a large number of people only, shows how deeply hurt they are at the developments in Tibet," Mr Angchuk said.
Young children dressed in traditional clothes performed a prayer and recited a song of mourning. Another group of children held a street play at the venue about the killings of Tibetans in around Lahsa.
In a memorandum addressed to Presidents, Prime Minister, Nobel Laureates and the United Nations, the Ladakh Buddhist Association demanded an immediate dispatch of independent international fact finding committee to Tibet to find out the truth.
It also demanded to the international community to persuade China to allow free press into Tibet. The memorandum said the presence of international medical teams, such as red cross and medicines sans frontiers was necessary to take care of injured Tibetans.
Besides Leh, a total bandh was observed in Kargil, the other district of Ladakh.
Demonstrations were also held at Demchok and Chukshul the Indo-China border, Durbuk Block Head Quarters, Nyoma Block Head Quarters and other adjoining areas. Muslim dominated Drass also observed a total bandh. The Ladak Buddhist Association claimed. (UNI)