DHARAMSHALA, January 9: Just a day after two Tibetans set their bodies on fire in eastern Tibet, another Tibetan, a reincarnate lama set himself ablaze on January 8, Sunday.
Sonam Wangyal (Sopa), a respected spiritual figure in his early forties from Golok in eastern Tibet passed away on the spot after drinking and spraying kerosene all over his body before lighting himself up according to sources in exile.
Citing sources in Tibet, RFA said that Sopa self-immolated in front of the police station of Darlag (in Chinese, Dari) county in Golog after shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom and the long life of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama – demands which have been common to all the 15 Tibetans who have self-immolated in Tibet since March 2011.
In leaflets that Sonam Wangyal distributed just before he set himself ablaze, he stated his fiery sacrifice was not for his “personal glory but for Tibet and the happiness of Tibetans," RFA said quoting a source from inside Tibet.
"The Tibetans should not lose their determination. The day of happiness will come for sure. For the Dalai Lama to live long, the Tibetans should not lose track of their path," Sonam Wangyal said in his last statement.
After Chinese security personnel confiscated his charred body, several hundred Tibetans reportedly marched to the police station to demand his remains.
According to the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), around 2,000 local Tibetans held a candlelight vigil urging the local police authorities to release his body.
“The local police averted further tension by agreeing to do so,” the CTA report said.
RFA has reported that Chinese security forces are pouring into Darlag “amid indications that thousands of Tibetans are planning to turn up for a memorial service this week for Sopa at a monastery where he had served”.
“Chinese authorities tightened security in Darlag, deploying additional security forces from the main town of Golog, as posters praising Sopa's act and calling for a boycott of Chinese goods appeared in the county,” RFA report said.
At Bodh Gaya, the venue for the ongoing 32nd Kalachakra teachings, Tibetan pilgrims and refugees from Amdo Golok who have gathered here for the ten-day teachings organised a candle light in the evening to show support and solidarity with the plight of people inside Tibet, especially with the family of Sonam Wangyal.