Exiled Tibetans hold candle light vigil in Dharamsala

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 29, 2012 18:00 hrs

Exiled Tibetans living in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, held a candle light vigil on Saturday to express solidarity with four compatriots, who self-immolated themselves in last two days in different parts of Tibet.

The vigil was organised by Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) who urged United Nations to intervene into the matter so as to put an end to the self-immolations.

The RTYC President of Dharamsala unit, Tenzin Tsundue informed that two Tibetans resorted to self-immolation on October 26.

A 24-year-old Tibetan farmer, Lhamo Tseten, died on Friday from self-immolation near a military base and a government office. Later on Friday, Tsepag Kyab, 21, also set fire to himself and died.

"Yesterday, while we were sitting here, while we were standing here and saying our prayers for Lhamo Tseten, he gave up his life yesterday in the afternoon. And in the evening very quickly we put together this candle light vigil, we were saying prayers, but we did not know at that moment what was happening. But while we were going out of here, immediately people started receiving this information that another Tibetan has set himself on fire yesterday in the evening, while were doing the prayers here, and he has died," said Tsundue.

Tsundue further said that until now the total number of self-immolators has reached to 62, out of which most have died.

According to media reports, two Tibetan cousins set themselves on fire in their village on October 25 to protest Chinese rule. Tsepo, 20, and Tenzin, 25, called for independence for Tibet as they set themselves ablaze in front of a government building.

Tsepo reportedly has died and Tenzin's condition is unknown.

"Two Tibetans had already self-immolated and one had dies and the other one was in critical condition. But news of this, which happened day before yesterday, did not reach here yesterday, we came to know only late night. Between two-days four self-immolations have happened and yet we don't have a photograph of them, we don't have much information. All that we knew that there are these incidents of self-immolation, some people have died, and the other one is in critical condition. Until now 62

Tibetans have self-immolated and most of them have died," said Tsundue.

As per latest media reports, these incidents have brought the total number of self-immolations to seven this week, the highest since the protests began last year.

The surge in self-immolations in China in protest over its rule in Tibet has heightened tension in recent months.

Indian-based rights groups said there had been a massive security clampdown in Tibet and Tibetan areas of China, and in some instances protesters were beaten even as they were ablaze.

China rejects criticism that it is eroding Tibetan culture and faith, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region.

China has ruled Tibet since 1950, when Communist troops marched in and announced its "peaceful liberation".

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising, has accused China of "cultural genocide". Beijing considers him a separatist and does not trust his insistence that he only wants greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist for his long struggle for Tibetan autonomy, and tensions over the issue are at their highest in years after a spate of protests and self-immolations, which have prompted a Chinese security crackdown. (ANI)

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