By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, March 28: On the first anniversary of Jampel Yeshi’s self-immolation, the Tibetan Youth Congress today unveiled his statue at Lhagyal Ri in Dharamshala.
“As a Tibetan, he thought that his country was taken away from him, and he has no other way to resist except to sacrifice his life,” said former political prisoner Palden Gyatso, who was the chief guest for the occasion.
Yeshi's statue is installed next to Thupten Ngodup’s, who was the first Tibetan to self-immolate in exile, to remember and honour his sacrifice for the Tibetan struggle. Yeshi’s last message is printed on a plaque below the statue.
Jampel Yeshi, 26, self-immolated on 26 March last year to protest against China’s occupation of Tibet a day before the then Chinese President Hu Jintaos’ visit to attend the 4th BRICS Summit in New Delhi.
Suffering 98 per cent burn, Yeshi passed away in the morning of March 28.
He became the second person in exile to die from self-immolation after Ngodup died from after he set himself in fire on 27 April 1998.
“Jampel Yeshi and 113 other Tibetans in Tibet have self-immolated for the cause of Tibet and Tibetans. And it is our responsibility to make sure that their sacrifices do not go in vain,” said Tsewang Rigzin, President of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
Hundreds of Tibetans and leaders of various organizations attended the ceremony and offered scarves at Yeshi’s statue. It was an intensely moving occasion for many Tibetans, including Lhasang Tsering, former President of TYC, who choked with emotion.
Yeshi was born in Tibet. In exile, he studied at the Tibetan Transit School and later moved to Delhi.Yeshi last message can be read here.