DHARAMSHALA, April 24: The Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration today held a prayer service in honour of two Tibetan self-immolators Jugtso and Phagmo Dhondup at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala.
The prayer service was presided over by the Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled abbot of the Kirti Monasteries in Tibet.
Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters including the Tibetan Justice Commissioners, Speaker Penpa Tsering, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Kalons, Parliamentarians, and school students attended the prayer service.
Jugtso, 20, a mother of four, had set herself alight outside the Jonang Monastery in Zamthang around on April 17. She passed away at the protest site after which her body was carried inside the Monastery where religious ceremonies were carried out.
Following her self-immolation protest, thousands of local Tibetans gathered at the Jonang Monastery to offer prayers and pay their last respects. Local Chinese authorities issued orders forcing her family members to cremate the body the same night in contravention of Tibetan traditional rituals.
Jugtso was a native of Bharma Village in Zamthang County and the sixth Tibetan to self-immolate in Zamthang.
Last week, reports of Tibetan self-immolator Phagmo Dhondup’s death reached exile. Dhondup had set himself on fire on February 24, 2013 in the ancient Jhakhyung Monastery in Palung region of Tshoshar, eastern Tibet.
After undergoing treatment in a hospital in Siling for over a month, Phagmo Dhondup reportedly succumbed to his injuries.
Addressing the prayer service, Sikyong Sangay spoke about US State Department Secretary John Kerry’s recent visit to China.
“Recently, US State Department Secretary John Kerry visited Asia and during his visit to China, it has been reported that he raised human rights issues in Tibet with Chinese officials.”
Since 2009, at least 115 Tibetans living under China’s occupation have set themselves on fire calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. As many as 98 Tibetan self-immolators have died in their fiery protests while the condition of others remain serious or unknown.