H.E. the 11th Kirti Rinpoche leading a prayer service for Tibetan self-immolators at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on January 16, 2013. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
DHARAMSHALA, January 16: Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters, including the Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, and Member of the Tibetan Parliament, attended a prayer service today at Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala.
The special prayer service, led by H.E. the 11th Kirti Rinpoche was held in honour of Tsering Tashi and Passang Lhamo, who set themselves on fire in protest against China's repressive policies.
Tsering Tashi, 22, passed away in his self-immolation protest on January 12 in Amchok town in Sangchu region of eastern Tibet. According to eyewitnesses, he shouted “Gyalwang Tenzin Gyatso” as he marched on the street engulfed in flames before succumbing to his injuries.
His body was forcibly cremated
the following day after repeated threats and mounting pressure from local Chinese authorities. Tsering Tashi is survived by his parents and wife Yumtso Kyi.
Passang Lhamo, 62, had set herself on fire in Beijing
on September 13, 2012, protesting against illegal land grabbing by Chinese authorities in her home town of Keygudo region in eastern Tibet following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Passang Lhamo torched herself after local authorities in Keygudo refused to allow her to retain her ancestral home and repeated appeals to the central authorities in Beijing failed to yield any concrete results.
She was reportedly taken to hospital where she was treated for "severe burn injuries." Her present condition and whereabouts are not known.
Addressing the prayer service, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people appealed to all Tibetans to “strengthen and amplify” solidarity campaigns.
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 96 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009 inside Tibet, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration has repeatedly called on China to address the grievances of the Tibetan people, review their policies in Tibet, and allow diplomats and international media to visit Tibet. Similar appeals have been made by the United Nations, the European Union, and countries including the US, UK, and Canada.
In October last year, an undercover journalist of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, who was able to gain access
to the otherwise no-go zone of eastern Tibet, had reported on the suffocating presence of Chinese security personnel in every Tibetan town he visited.
After being chased, caught, and escorted out of Tibet, the reporter summed up his short visit saying: "Behind us is fear, resentment and tragedy, along with government policies showing no sign of winning over Tibetans."