Tibetan self-immolator Lobsang Gendun in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, December 4: Minutes before setting himself on fire, Tibetan self-immolator Lobsang Gendun left a message of hope for the unity and solidarity of all Tibetans.
According to Tsangyang Gyatso, an exiled Tibetan with contacts in the region, Lobsang Gendun called a friend of his, moments before burning himself to death, and left a message of unity to all Tibetans.
“I am right now preparing to self-immolate,” Lobsang Gendun told his friend (name not revealed). “I have already doused my body with petrol. I am only left with the battery water to drink before I burn myself.”
“Although I wanted to leave a note, but for my poor handwriting, I could not. So, I am calling you,” Lobsang Gendun told his friend. “My hope is for Tibetans from all the three provinces of Tibet to be united, have solidarity with each other, and not to indulge in internal quarrels. Our aspirations will be fulfilled if we all do this.”
Lobsang Gendun, 29, a monk, at the Penag Monastery, self-immolated in Golog Pema region of eastern Tibet at around 7:45 pm (local time) Monday, December 3. He succumbed to his injuries at the site of his protest.
According to eyewitnesses, Lobsang Gendun’s hands were clasped in prayers as he raised slogans urging Tibetan to be united and avoid in fighting, while engulfed in flames.
His charred body was later carried to the Penag Monastery by local Tibetans following a minor scuffle with Chinese security personnel.
Gyatso told Phayul that following the self-immolation protest, a respected Tibetan from the region, Washul Dodrub was detained by Chinese authorities in connection with the protest.
Dodrub was earlier arrested in 2008, during the pan-Tibet uprising, on suspicion of leading protests in the region. His current wellbeing and whereabouts are not known.
According to the same source, a large number of monks and local Tibetans visited Penag Monastery today to pay their last respects and prayers and offer their condolences and solidarity with the deceased’s family members.
“Around one thousand of those visitors also pledged to fulfill Lobsang Gendun’s last wishes of harbouring unity and solidarity,” Gyatso said.
Preparations have been made to carry out Lobsang Gendun’s final rites on December 5.
Reportedly, many Tibetans from the nearby areas have been barred from travelling to Penag, by Chinese authorities, fearing further protests.
“A large number of additional armed forces have been deployed in Pema region,” Gyatso added citing sources in the region. “Heavy restrictions have been placed in the entire region, especially around the Penag Monastery.”
Lobsang Gendun is survived by his parents, Golog Lokho and Sago Dewang, and his 11 siblings.
An alarming total of 92 Tibetans have self-immolated inside Tibet since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.