The march started Credit: EastMojo image

Gangtok: Around 250 people began a foot march from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, on Thursday morning to commemorate 30th birth anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.

The ‘All India Peace March’ was organised under the banner of ‘Tibetan Women’s Association’ and began from Chokasum Hall in Gangtok to culminate at the Salugara Monastery in Siliguri, West Bengal.

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The peace march was participated by a large number of followers who demanded the immediate release of His Holiness, the 11th Panchen Lama, from the Chinese government’s custody. The Panchen Lama was ‘abducted’ in 1995 when he was just six years old. Similar rallies were also organised in different parts of the country to mark the occasion.

“From the time his Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama was imprisoned in China, we have been putting our effort to find and restore him,” Tshering Choezem, the general secretary of Tibetan Women’s Association, said.

“We would also like to appeal the people of the world to pressure the Chinese government to reveal and hand over our spiritual leader who has been kept imprisoned for several years,” Choezem added.

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On May 14, 1995, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, recognised six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama. Three days later, the Chinese authorities took him and his family away, installing another boy in his place. He was for years considered the world’s youngest political prisoner.

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