MONKS-led peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa to mark the 1959 failed uprising soon turned into riots in different parts of Tibet . Even Beijing was surprised by the spread of the unrest and violent response to the regime'srepression over half a century. A severe crackdown on freedom fighters was the Beijing'sresponse. Since Beijing'sofficial announcements lack credibility, it is not clear how many Tibetans have been killed or rounded up. The Government charge that protesters attacked buildings, shops and killed several ethnic Chinese even in far flung areas (that were taken out of Tibet and merged in four neighbouring provinces) is enough to give inkling about how serious the situation is. The Dalai Lama is no less worried. So committed is His Holiness to non-violence that he threatened to resign from his political role if the violence didn'tend. Recently, he came up with the information he had received from his country that it were the Government troops that provoked and even started the violence to give a bad name to the movement. In any event, it won'tbe surprising if younger elements among his countrymen frustrated by the endless repression and denial of human rights might have turned violent. Tibetan youth'sattempts to storm Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and Kathmandu show that it may not be possible for the Dalai to restrain for long his followers from resorting to unconventional methods to express their anger and frustration. These were acts of defiance and preparedness to suffer rather than acts of violence or rioting as the Chinese would like us to believe. The anguish and anger expressed by monks before foreign journalists taken on a conducted tour of Lhasa by the Chinese to show that peace had returned to the region are signs that Tibetans have not given up and that they will continue to voice their protests during the run up to the Beijing Olympics. Rattled by these developments, Beijing launched a vicious campaign against the Dalai Lama. They have used extremely intemperate, nay abusive, language against the spiritual leader accusing him of ?masterminding? violence in Tibet and calling him a ?splitter?. All this despite His Holiness? unshakeable commitment to non-violence and willingness to accept autonomy within China in place of sticking to his original demand for freedom.
If the Tibet issue is still alive and if sections of the international community are sympathetic to the cause, it is largely because of the efforts put in by the Dalai Lama since 1959 when he was forced to leave his motherland with several thousand of his followers and take refuge in India. He is universally respected for his spirituality, compassion, equilibrium and personal integrity. He has traveled all over the world barring Communist countries and has been received by heads of states and governments. He has been at pains to explain his position and seek international support for the Tibetan cause. If he watered down his demand for freedom long years ago, it was certainly not because his commitment to the cause was less than any one else. His demand for real autonomy for his homeland is rooted in his assessment that Chinese control of his country is a fait accompli. He was forced to moderate his demand not only because of Chinese awful military and economic prowess but also because of his deep concern for the safety, security and survival of his people. One of his major concerns is the massive demographic change taking place in Tibet.
New Delhi'shandling of the Tibet issue is a sad tale of political mistakes, tactical errors and communist betrayals.
Communist parties? role on the issue is sickening. These have all along played a pro-Beijing role. They not only blamed India for the ?62 conflict but also toed the Chinese line on the border dispute. They remain unmoved by the atrocities committed by communist rulers of Beijing and destruction of a free country. They are against any freedom to Tibetan refugees to undertake political action on Indian soil. For them, Tibet and repression of its movement for freedom are China's?internal affairs?. Not only that, the CPM has cautioned New Delhi to keep in mind that any direct or indirect help to Tibetan freedom fighters may provoke Beijing to take a similar stand on J&K and northeast. The communists have conveniently forgotten that it was China that they nourished insurgency in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur by arming and training secessionists in China and Tibet. They refuse to accept that China is in illegal occupation of large swash of our territory in Ladakh and fraudulently claims 90,000 square miles of our populated area in Arunachal Pradesh. For them, these are disputed areas. Can anyone be less patriotic?
Indian Football team Captain Bhaichung Bhutia scored a golden goal for all freedom loving people of the word by refusing to carry the Olympic torch through Delhi as a protest against the treatment meted out to Tibetans. He has done India proud by refusing to be associated with the Beijing Olympics. A Buddhist by religion, Bhutia says that was his way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle. Earlier Hollywood film mughal Steven Spielberg had resigned as artistic adviser for the Olympics to protest against Chinese support to Sudanese Government'sgenocidal campaign in Darfur. To argue against mixing politics with sports is sheer nonsense. Beijing wants to make a political statement by successfully holding the games. Bhutia'sdecision has embarrassed the comrades in India and must have caused anxiety to China. How about the other Indian role models? Will they too take a stand against Chinese human rights record? Will his move resonate at the Olympics? Are democratic countries, particularly in the West, willing to boycott the games? Will New Delhi take the lead?