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Tibetan man attempts to self-immolate in protest of parliamentary row

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Lobsang Tenzin in an undated photo (Facebook)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, June 22: A Tibetan man from Hunsur settlement in South India attempted to set himself on fire on Sunday morning, reportedly in protest of the ensuing crisis at the Tibetan Parliament, where the new Tibetan MPs are at loggerheads on the divided oath-taking ceremonies since last month.

“The 45 MPs once elected are representatives of the 6 million Tibetans in the world and do not represent their respective regions only. I appeal to the Tibetan leaders, including Sikyong Penpa Tsering, to come together and resolve the issue as soon as possible. I understand that my life is not important but I committed this act in hope that it might send a message to the administration,” Lobsang Tenzin,60, said in a video circulated by various media houses.  

The videos of his appeal shot after Lobsang’s return from the hospital showed him urging the MPs to end the deadlock, “I urge the parliamentarians to maintain stability at the Tibetan government-in-exile. I did this as an act of defiance to regionalist politics which could potentially cause distress to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” Lobsang’s daughter present at the time of immolation poured a bucket of water at him to stop the fire from spreading although he has already suffered 30% burn. He is currently out of danger, sources said.

As news of his attempt to self-immolate emerged online, netizens took to social media and claimed that the act was aimed to protest the reinstatement of the three justices in May, while others likened him to an alcoholic to further disregard him. However, Lobsang’s clarification stated that he was not well-versed with the legality that has led to the current impasse. “I was devastated by the turn of events at the parliament, and saw MPs Dawa Phunkyi, Dolma Tsering and Dorjee Tsetan going back and forth on the matter. I couldn’t understand who was right or wrong, and realized that there might not be a middle-way to resolve it at all,” the 60-year-old further said.

Phayul’s attempts to speak to Lobsang Tenzin and his family were denied as they said that the doctors have now recommended full rest after the injuries sustained from the act, and had suggested no disturbance to the patient during the recovery.

9 Responses

  1. Tibetans all over the world are concerned due to the political crises which is what the Chinese would like to see so, our elected members should find a solution as soon as possible and then move forward in amending our charter. I applaud the man of his bravery to self immolate to see an end to current crises. Rise above your self interest and end this crises.

  2. We have a constitution. Every body has to abide strictly by this constitution. No one can interpret the constitution as he or she likes. Especially the members of the parliament have to respect the constitution and act accordingly. When they don’t and because of their differences the CTA ist not in the position to function properly or at all, then those parliament memebers are resposible for the disfunction and they have to be accused for their irresponsiblity and actions against the unity of the Tibetan people. Actually they have the responsibility to work for the unity of our people. Theirs is not to make irritation in the society.

    Every body can have his or her opnion. But every body must repect the constitution.

  3. Self immolation for such cause or issue is not at all worth it. You don’t need to go too far! There were hundreds of Tibetan in Tibet self immolated for their freedom from Chinese government and our Exile government is ready to surrender under Chinese government in the name of umaylam championed by Syikong Penpa Tsering la. Mind you, our exile is milking cash from foreign government in the name of those self immolated Tibetan and in return, doing nothing. I dare any Tibetan in exile government have a point to prove that they did or doing for Tibetan in Tibet. So, please instead of suffering pain and anger for something useless, please mind your own business and help some needy Tibetan around you.

  4. Self Immolating on such pity issue literally show how narrow/ block minded our society is. I request media not to cover such issues. The Poor individual might had some mental issues.
    Stay positive, this small issue will be resolved with next 3 months. Small frictions will be there in politics when new Sikyong comes into picture.

    1. I don’t think the current political impasse is a petty (pity?) issue. Your opinion about Lobsang is appalling.

    2. The constitutional crisis, we’re witnessing in Dharamshala, is not a petty (pity?) issue. Tibetans all over the world are concerned with the existing political impasse. It is setting a bad precedent for our future generation. And your perception about Lobsang Tenzin is appalling, to say the least.

    3. “La” suffix in the Tibetan Lhasa colloquial is to show respect, usually added to someone’s name other than yourself.

      You CAN NOT use “la” when referring to yourself. It defeats the purpose of how Tibetan colloquial honorific works. I see a lot of young Tibetans make that mistake. Not making fun of you but letting you know the right way.

    4. Buddy, look at the brighter side, think broader and try to always think positive side in life. Learn appreciating others before blaming to anyone in life, Think about his bravery courageous act of attempting self immolation for Tibet and how dedicated many Tibetans are like this towards making our freedom struggle & unity being living in one common society. Please Don’t play blame game or dirty politics and I am sure many Tibetans believe the present CTA constitutional crisis impasse is a real threat to our sustaining Tibetan govt in exile and for our Tibet cause in a bigger picture. Hence, these elected Chithues should learn a lesson now and take their important responsibility, not to create chaos in the society. The current situation is we are not able to form our parliament/TPiE to continue our cause. God please help us and I hope this problematic will be resolved soon.
      Bodh Gyalo.

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