Tibetans and supporters holding a prayer service for Tibetan self-immolators at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala, north India on October 10, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, October 11: Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters, including the Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Kalons, Parliamentarians and school students attended a prayer service held at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala, Wednesday.
The special prayer service was held in honour of Sangay Gyatso, 27, who self-immolated in Tsoe region of Kanlho, eastern Tibet on October 6, protesting against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Sangay Gyatso, a father of two, set himself on fire near the Dokar Monastery and passed away at the site of his protest, following which monks and local Tibetans carried his charred body inside the Monastery premises.
According to eyewitnesses, he raised slogans demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom of religion and language in Tibet.
Kalon Tsering Dhondup of the Department of Finance, in his brief remarks, paid homage to Sangay Gyatso and recalled the slogans he raised during his fiery protest.
“When Tibetans in Tibet are sacrificing their lives calling for the freedom of language and religion, it is our duty for those of us living in freedom in exile to protect and promote our language and religion,” Kalon Dhondup said.
Earlier reports had said that Tibetans from nearby towns and villages had gathered in large numbers at the Dokar Monastery to offer prayers and their last respects to Sangay Gyatso.
The situation in Tsoe region has been described as tense with the deployment of a large number of Chinese armed forces around the Monastery. The entire Tsoe region is under strict surveillance with severe restrictions on the movement of local Tibetans.
The Chinese security officials had earlier attempted to arrest the Dokar Monastery monks responsible for taking pictures of Sangay Gyatso’s charred body and also questioned the deceased’s family members.
Sangay Gyatso is survived by his wife Dorjee Kyi and two children - a son, Dorjee Dhundup, 7 and a daughter, Tenzin Tso, 5.
Since 2009, 54 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.