Exile Tibetan administration offering a special prayer service for Tibetan self-immolator nun Wangchen Dolma at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on June 18, 2013. (Phayul photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 18: A mass prayer service was held today in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala in honour of nun Wangchen Dolma, who set herself ablaze in protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet on June 11.
The prayer service was presided over by Jhador Rinpoche, former abbot of Namgyal Monastery.
Thousands of Tibetans and supporters, including Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioners, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Kalons, Parliamentarians, and school students attended the prayer service held at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj.
Wangchen Dolma, 31, set herself on fire at around 5 pm (local time) on June 11 outside the Nyatso Monastery in Tawu, eastern Tibet, where thousands of monks from all over Tibet had congregated to take part in a major religious gathering.
Chinese security personnel arrived at the protest site and forcibly took Wangchen Dolma to a hospital in Dartsedo.
Three days after her protest, on June 14, Wangchen Dolma succumbed to her injuries.
Chinese authorities secretly cremated her body without informing her family members, as has been the standard practice with other self-immolators.
According to the London-based Free Tibet, authorities’ caused her relatives “additional distress” after they refused to hand over Wangchen Dolma’s remains or ashes so that her family could perform traditional rituals.
“Chinese authorities also prevented local people from visiting the family to pray and show solidarity. The family were ordered to not contact people about Wangchen Dolma’s protest or visit the monastery,” Free Tibet said in a statement Monday.
The exile Tibetan administration said family members of the deceased were kept under house arrest following the self-immolation protest.
Wangchen Dolma was born to Tenzin and Youdon of Gyal Bum Tsang family in Dragthok village in Minyag Drapa region of Tawu. She was enrolled at a Buddhist institute located on Barshab Dragkar, a sacred hill near her village.
Since 2009, as many as 119 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. 102 of the self-immolators have passed away while the condition of more than ten remains unknown.
Addressing the prayer service, Sikyong Dr Sangay spoke about his recent maiden visit to Lithuania and his meetings with parliamentarians, Lithuania’s MEPs, leaders of NGOs, and university students. He added that his visit got positive response from the media as well.