|Tibetans say India choking food to stop China march|
|Friday, 30 May 2008|
REUTERS, NEW DELHI - A group of Tibetan exiles marching towards China said on Thursday that Indian police had impounded their food trucks and arrested their leaders to break up a protest walk that began almost three months ago.
Tibetan exiles, now numbering about 300, began walking on March 10 from Dharamsala, the seat of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, to join in protests against Chinese rule inside Tibet.
One of several high-profile activities intended to draw attention to demands that China grant independence to Tibet, the march was stopped by police at the weekend near a restricted military zone that stretches to the Chinese border.
The marchers, surrounded by police, are now camping near Almora town waiting for an opportunity to get to the border about 200 km away.
A statement from the marchers said police were holding five of their top leaders and had confiscated their fourth and last truck carrying food supplies.
"But the 300 marchers remain committed to returning to Tibet," it said.
Although police say no direct orders have come from the central government in New Delhi, they say there have been general discussions on how the protesters should be dealt with.
Five foreigners with the group, including an American and a Norwegian, were told to leave the country within seven days for breaching their visas.
The march was organised by several prominent activist groups, including the Tibetan Youth Congress.
The Dalai Lama has said he thought the march was dangerous and pointless.
But the marchers say their action was an effort to show solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and their resolve to win their freedom from China.
"At a time when Tibetans inside Tibet continue to be detained, disappeared, tortured and killed for their beliefs it is our responsibility to tell the world of their suffering," said Karma Sichoe, a member of the march organising committee.
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