Tibetans in Dharamshala signing a petition calling on the Nepalese government to release Tibetan self-immolator Drupchen Tsering's body. March 6, 2013.
DHARAMSHALA, March 7: Hundreds of people in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala signed a petition Wednesday calling on the Nepalese Prime Minister to release the body of Tibetan self-immolator Drupchen Tsering to the Tibetan community in Nepal.
It has been over 20 days since Druptse, 25, set himself on fire near the Boudha stupa in the heart of Kathmandu city, protesting China’s occupation of Tibet. He passed away the same day with 96 per cent burns.
Nepali authorities have since maintained that Druptse’s body will be released only to his parents, who are in Tibet, his blood relatives or diplomatic representatives.
Tibetan community representatives in Nepal have appealed to relevant authorities for the release of Druptse’s body but to no avail.
Students for a Free Tibet, India, the oraganisers of the campaign said the petition addressed to PM Baburam Bhattarai will be submitted at the Nepal embassy in New Delhi and copies of the signed petition will also be forwarded to other countries.
“It has been almost 22 days! Yet we continue to see Nepal Government’s failure to return Drupchen Tsering’s body to the Tibetan community and allow them to conduct the proper final rites as per the Buddhist custom. This is outrageous!” said Dorjee Tsetan, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet, India. “Nepal should respect the basic rights of Tibetan refugees and not kowtow to China’s growing influence.”
Similar actions for the release of Druptse’s body were carried out in Canada and US earlier this month by members of SFT.
In New York, a senior staff member of the Nepal Consulate met with the Tibetan protestors, publicly accepted the petition letter and promised to pass on the petition to the PMO.
"What we are demanding from the Nepali government is the most basic human decency," said Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of SFT. "We want the Nepal government to respect the basic rights of Tibetan refugees and allow the Tibetan community to conduct the proper final rites for their deceased compatriot."
Earlier, two Tibetans living in North America sent an open letter addressed to Nepal’s PM expressing their outrage and disappointment at the lack of concern the Nepali Government had shown in handling Druptse’s body.
“It is clear that there is strong Chinese interference in your domestic politics. The Nepali government's response to the self-immolation is eerily similar to China's handling of the bodies of self-immolators inside Tibet, where the Chinese police bundle the body hurriedly and cremate it secretly,” Jigme Ugen and Tenpa D Gashi wrote in the letter.
“Relatives of the late Drupchen Tsering are living in anxiety due to the fear of being arrested if they should come forward to claim the body and yet are tormented by the inability to perform the final rites for the deceased in accordance with Buddhist tradition.”
The two further requested the Nepalese government to return the body of Drupchen Tsering to the local Tibetan community, protect the local Tibetan community from intimidation and physical abuse, and adhere to the universal principles of human rights that they have ratified.