Dharamshala: As part of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile’s Tibet advocacy campaign across various Indian states, parliamentarians Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten, Tsaneytsang Dhondup Tashi, and Tsering Yangchen commenced their advocacy tour in the state of Maharashtra, marking the beginning of their visits to Maharashtra, Goa, and Telangana from January 15th to 31st, 2024.
On January 15th, MP Dhondup Tashi and MP Tsering Yangchen departed from Dharamshala for Mumbai, while MP Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten arrived in Mumbai from Hubli. Upon reaching Mumbai, they were warmly received by Shri Sandesh Meshram, also called Samten Yeshi – the Regional President of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association. Following their arrival, the MPs convened a meeting with Jigme Tsultrim, Chief Representative Officer (CRO) of the South Zone, who had arrived in Mumbai a few days earlier to coordinate appointments for their advocacy efforts.
The following day, representatives from the Tibetan sweater-selling community in Mumbai visited the Tibetan Members of Parliament to discuss their concerns. These Tibetan garment sellers, who have been conducting winter business in Mumbai for many years, have encountered restrictions imposed by the management. In response, the MPs, accompanied by Shri Rajaram and Shri Namdev Sable from the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, approached Shri Vishwas P. Mote, the Assistant Commissioner at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). They briefed him on the challenges faced by the Tibetan garment sellers, and with Shri Mote’s assistance, the grievances were successfully addressed and resolved.
On January 17th, they visited Siddharth College of Arts, Science, and Commerce, the inaugural institution established by the People’s Education Society, founded by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The delegation conducted a talk program on Tibet during this visit. MP Tsering Yangchen emphasized the special bond of friendship between India and Tibet, MP Dhondup Tashi discussed the four commitments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and MP Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten addressed the condition of Tibetan religion and culture in Chinese-occupied Tibet.
Following the talk event, they explored the college library and Dr. Ambedkar’s office. Subsequently, a meeting with Professor Ashok Sunatkari took place, focusing on future collaborations in education and awareness. The discussions culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining five key points for collaboration.
Established in 1946, the Siddharth College of Arts, Science, and Commerce holds the distinction of being the inaugural college founded by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar resided at the college from 1952 to 1956, during which he formulated the draft of the Indian constitution and endorsed the education policy. Presently, the college accommodates approximately 4000 students.
Following this, the Members of Parliament (MPs) convened discussions with Shri Dilip Walse Patil, the Minister of Co-operation of Maharashtra; Shri Sanjay Bansode, the Minister of Sports & Youth Welfare, and Port Development of Maharashtra; and Shri Anandraj Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Throughout these meetings, they passionately advocated for Tibet and presented the leaders with mementos from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
On January 18th, further engagements were held with Shri Shirish Ramteke, a media personality at Sanghakaya Foundation, and Shri Girish Wankhed, a distinguished expert in the film and media industry.
Concluding their visit, the Tibetan MPs met with Shri Ajit Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, addressing the Tibet issue. They presented the Deputy CM with a souvenir from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and pertinent documents on Tibet.