By Sherab Woeser
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with Gyalwang Karmapa and Kirti Rinpoche, leading a special prayer service for Tibetans who have self-immolated inside Tibet, at Tsug-la Khang, Dharamshala on October 19, 2011. (Phayul photo/Sherab Woeser)
DHARAMSHALA, October 19: In one of the strongest political statements since the transfer of his political power, Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama today joined a call for a day-long hunger fast and prayer service by the Kashag (cabinet).
The Dalai Lama, along with Gyalwng Karmapa and Kirti Rinpoche led an elaborate prayer service at Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala in solidarity with “Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet and particularly those who self-immolated, their families and those suffering repression in Tibet”.
Monks and nuns, school students, local Tibetans and supporters, and the entire staff of the Central Tibetan Administration led by Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay were in attendance.
Speaking at the start of the special prayer service, Dr Sangay blamed China’s “hard line position” in Tibet over the “last sixty years of Communist China’s occupation” for pushing “Tibetans to a desperate situation”.
“Through its propaganda Beijing shows a different image, but in reality China practices colonialism and systematic destruction of the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language and environment because of which Tibetans have peacefully demonstrated time and again,” Dr Sangay said.
Since March this year, nine Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet, protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
Lobsang Phuntsok (20), Tsewang Norbu (29), Khaying (18), Choephel (19), and Tenzin Wangmo (20) have all succumbed to their injuries, while there is no information on the well being and whereabouts of Lobsang Kelsang (18), Lobsang Kunchok (19), Kelsang Wangchuk (17), and Norbu Damdul (19).
“We pay homage to their courage and stand in solidarity with their indomitable spirit,” said Dr Sangay while requesting “every Tibetan and Tibetan supporters to carry out activities peacefully and in accordance with the local law”.
Reiterating the Kashag’s appeal to the Chinese government to “immediately stop its repressive policies in Tibet”, Dr Sangay urged for an early resolution of the Tibetan issue through “peaceful means”.
“We would like to appeal to the United Nations to send fact-finding delegations into Tibet. We would also like to request to allow free access to the media so that the international community could know the real situation.”
Kalon Tripa is scheduled to leave for New Delhi later today to meet Indian leaders and take part in the ongoing three-day global Tibetan Solidarity Movement.