By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, October 24: The Central Tibetan Administration today held a prayer service for the departed souls, in particular of the three Tibetans who died of self immolation, and the other 55 Tibetans who have died due to the fiery protests since 2009.
Hundreds of Tibetans including the Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Kalons, members of the Tibetan Parliament and supporters attended the prayer service.
Kalon Pema Chinjor, Department of Religion and Culture said, “The Central Tibetan Administration has appealed the Tibetans inside Tibet from taking such drastic steps but due to Chinese brutal policies, Tibetans inside Tibet burn themselves to protest against the Chinese Policies.”
Tibet's elected leader Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay has maintained that the "blame as well as the solution" for the self-immolation protests lie with the Chinese government.
"We have discouraged drastic actions, including self-immolations, but unfortunately Tibetans seem to be saying this is the only form of protest left, because any other form of protest the consequences is similar - you get arrested, tortured and often die," Dr Sangay told reporters.
Three Tibetans, Lhamo Kyab, Dhondup and Dorjee Rinchen died after setting themselves on fire in just four days in protest against China's repressive policies and to demand the return of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The last three acts of self immolation occurred in the same region of Sangchu County in Amdo, Eastern Tibet in just four days.
Earlier this month, an undercover reporter for the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, who was able to gain rare access to the otherwise no-go zone of eastern Tibet, said that every Tibetan town he visited was "crawling with police."
After being chased, caught, and escorted out of Tibet, the reporter summed up his short visit saying: "Behind us is fear, resentment and tragedy, along with government policies showing no sign of winning over Tibetans."
Since 2009, 58 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.