(TibetanReview.net, Jul13’19) – As the people in Ladakh on the Indian side of the border celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday on Jul 6 with displays of Indian, Buddhist and Tibetan flags, people from the Tibetan side of Chinese ruled Tibet raised demands that the celebrations be stopped, said a number of India news reports Jul 12-13.
Residents of Koyul Village near Fukche located on the left bank of the Indus River in the eastern part of Ladakh were celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama when a group of Chinese appeared on the other side of the Indus.
“On July 6, we had gathered on the Indus bank, 8-9 Chinese came and raised banners and flags. Our forces (ITBP, Army and the police) asked us to remove national, Buddhist and Tibetan flags on the plea that it instigated the Chinese,” tribuneindia.com Jul 6 quoted Urgain Chodon, Koyul village sarpanch, as saying. (The Sarpanch is the head of a decision-making body elected by the village-level constitutional body of local self-government called the Gram Sabha in India.)
And then, “on the very next day, some Chinese came to the area in two vehicles to disrupt our celebrations,” the reported quoted the village Sarpanch as saying, clearly suggesting that the Chinese did cross the border.
The report said the Chinese who arrived in two vehicles were in civilian dresses. They held up a red banner saying in Tibetan “Ban all activity to split Tibet”. The Indus at this spot is only around 20 m wide and the spot is about 270 km south-east of Leh.
The report cited sources in the Indian Army as denying, however, that the Chinese crossed the Indus — the de facto LAC in those areas.
Deccanchronicle.com Jul 13 cited official sources as saying the Chinese stayed on for 30-40 minutes, waving banners towards the Indian side, without crossing the Indus River.
However, according to dnaindia.com Jul 12, Chinese soldiers entered five km deep into the Indian territory at Demchok.
During border post meetings between the armies of the two countries, China did not raise the issue with the Indian side, noted the Deccanchronicle.com report.
Fukche is located between Dungti Gap and Demchok, which is 110-km flat plateau with the Indus flowing from Tibet into India at Demchok.
There is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and Chinese ruled Tibet. Indeed, before the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959, people freely travelled between the two sides without any restriction.