By Phuntsok Yangchen
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay speaking at the special prayer service held in honour of Tibetan self-immolator Dorjee Lhundup at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on November 7, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, November 8: A mass prayer service was held in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala yesterday in honour of Dorjee Lhundup, who set himself ablaze in protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet on November 4.
The prayer service, held at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple, was organised by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Thousands of Tibetans and supporters, including the Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Speaker Penpa Tsering, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Kalons, Tibetan parliamentarians and school students attended the prayer service.
Addressing the gathering, Sikyong Dr Sangay said the escalation in self-immolation protests is sending a clear statement to the Chinese government that their repressive policies is Tibet have failed.
“The self-immolations are a clear statement to the Chinese government that their repressive policies in Tibet are not working and that they ought to end the present crackdown and find a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue whereby His Holiness Dalai Lama could return to Tibet and freedom for Tibet can be restored.”
Dorjee Lhundup, 25, set himself ablaze at around 10:30 am (local time) on November 4 at one of the busiest crossroads in Rongwo town, Rebkong in eastern Tibet. He passed away at the protest site.
Dorjee Lhundup, father of a four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, called for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile, while engulfed in flames.
Upon hearing the news of the self-immolation, local Tibetans gathered at the protest site and carried the deceased’s body to the Rongwo Monastery.
The crowd swelled into thousands by afternoon, when Dorjee Lhundup was laid to rest at Dhongya-lay cremation site behind the Monastery.
Earlier, the Central Tibetan administration made an open appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on Tibet in light of the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet.
The Central Tibetan Administration appealed to the 47-member states of the UNHRC to convene a special session on Tibet in view of the “desperate and unprecedented spate of self-immolations by Tibetans due to China’s repressive policies and the continued intransigence of the Chinese leadership to the relentless efforts of UNHRC.”
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 69 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and return of the Dalai Lama from exile.