Escorted from Chennai by the two representatives of TSAM students, Mr. Tsewang Dorjee and Mr. Tenzin Dalha, the "Flame of Truth" Torch arrived to a rousing reception of slogan shouting and cheers from the Tibetan delegates at the Main Gate of the Bylakuppe settlement around 10. Am.
The frenzied reception group comprising of Tibetan MPs Mr. Jigme Jungney and Mr. Lobsang Yeshi, Settlement Officers Mr. Tsewang Ngodup and Mr. Jampa Phuntsok, President of the Tibetan Cooperative Society Mr. Pema Delek and Secretary Mr. Chime Dorjee, RTYC President Mr. Tsering Lhakyap, RTWA President Mrs. Tenzin Dolma, ITFS President Mr. Sadha Shivappa, Vice President Mr. Jawara Gowda, Secretary Dr. A.A. Chengappa, executive member Mr. Rajendra and ITFS Coordinator Mr. Gelek Jungney etc received the Torch at the Settlement Gate.
The reception group at the gate also consists of over 50 representatives and camp leaders brandishing Tibetan National Flags and attiring a makeshift jackets with slogans of "The "Flame of Truth" Torch Relay.
Later the procession of the Reception group led by the local Police and convoy of scores of cars and bikes escorted the Torch through the settlement to the Palace where the main Reception is scheduled. Hundreds of local Tibetans lined up the streets to greet the Torch with scarf and cheers of delight and excitement.
Amidst rapturous applause, cheers and raising slogans of Bod Gyalo and Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama from the several thousand Tibetans, the Torch arrived at the Palace to a grand reception. Mr. J.P. Urs, the chief guest of the Reception Function & Convenor, South Zone, Tibet Support Group escorted the "Flame of Truth" Torch to the Podium. Meanwhile hundreds of cheering Tibetans crowded around the Torch to offer scarf, touch and feel the spirit of the Torch etc.. Indeed the spirit of celebration and homage, jubilation and anticipation engulf the Palace as slogans of ‘Glory to Tibet' rents the air.
The reception function begin with the welcoming of the Torch by the chief Guest and the singing of Tibetan and Indian National Anthem, one minutes silence in mourning of the Tibetan martyrs and recitation of Prayer of Truth etc. Later Lugsam Settlement Officer Mr. Tsewang Ngodup delivered an introductory speech explaining the detail of the campaigns to be held in the settlement and the nearby towns etc.
Following this, Mr. Jigme Jungney, member of Tibetan Parliament addressed the gathering by elaborating in detail about the origin of the "Flame of Truth" torch campaign during a Discussion Meeting at the 3rd Session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament as an effort by the Tibetan Parliament to launch more concrete political actions to highlight the Tibetan issue at this critical stage of Tibetan Freedom Struggle.
Mr. Jigme, while expressing his immense appreciation and respect for the bravery and sacrifices of the Tibetan brothers and sister inside Tibet and offering solidarity with the families of the martyrs, pledge to make efforts to realize their sacred aspirations. He further urged the Tibetans to make consorted effort to contribute towards Tibetan freedom struggle and suggested that its time for the Tibetans to spare a certain amount from one's earning to be contributed directly for the Tibet Actions. Before concluding, he emphasizes that the onus lies on the China's shoulder to end the ongoing spree of Self Immolations by the Tibetans in Tibet by fulfilling their aspirations and ending the causes for these supreme sacrifices.
In his address to the gathering, Chief guest, Mr J. P. Urs, Convenor, South Zone Tibet Support Group while expressing his support for the "Flame of Truth" torch relay, further urged "the friends and supporters of Tibet and Tibetans to launch Solidarity Movements throughout the world and the citizens of all nations and Non governmental Organizations to put pressure on their governments to take firm stand for Freedom, Truth and Justice in support of Tibetan struggle. He further "hoped that the Flame of Truth" relay will serve as useful campaign to understand the reality of the Tibetan problem and appeal the Office of the United Nations to take firm actions and deliver Justice to Tibet and its people." Later Mr. Jampa Phuntsok, Settlement Officer of Dekyi Larsoe gave a vote of Thanks. Before the Reception function concludes, the crowd once again joined for a final spirited sloganeering shouting of Bod Gyalo and Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Earlier on 17th of July, a press conference to brief about the campaign of " Flame of Truth " Torch Relay in Bylakuppe etc. was held in Lugsam Community Hall. Over 45 press reporters and media personnel from around the towns attended the Conference. The Press conference was addressed by Mr. Sadha Shivappa, President of ITFS Bylakuppe, Mr. Jigme Jungney and Mr. Lobsang Yeshi, members of Tibetan Parliament.
In the following weeks, The Torch is schedule to tour the entire Tibetan camps, schools and monasteries in the Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement and is also scheduled to tour and rally through the major neighbouring towns of Periyapatna, Medikeri and Kushal Nagar on the 26th, 27th and 28th respectively. Public talk, signature campaign, Press conference and Public rally will be organized in each of the towns with the participation of students from local schools and colleges and the local dignitaries and supporters. The ITFS Kushal Nagar etc jointly organizes the "Flame of Truth" Torch Relay in Bylakuppe and the nearby towns of Medikeri, Kushal Nagar and Periyapatna.
The South India leg of "Flame of Truth" relay, which was launched from the city of Kochi on July 6, had so far travelled to Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Auroville and Chennai before arriving in Bylakuppe in Karnataka state. During the past relay in South Indian cities and towns, many eminent individuals had shown their support towards the cause of Tibet by signing Tibet petition to be submitted to the UN on December 10, 2012.
Followings are the three demands of the relay:
1. The United Nations must discuss the issue of Tibet based on the resolutions that it has passed in 1959, 1961 and 1965, and continuously make efforts to fulfil the substance of these resolutions.
2. An independent international fact-finding delegations must immediately be sent to investigate the ongoing crisis in Tibet.
3. The United Nations must take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.
Report and photo contributed by Lobsang Yeshi, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, Mysore, Karnataka State, South India.