Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay has called on his compatriots to suspend festivities of the Tibetan New Year, Losar, and pray for those who have immolated themselves to protest against Chinese rule.
Nearly 100 Tibetans, including monks, nuns and high school students, have burned themselves to death in public over the past two years. Increased Chinese security deployments across the Tibetan plateau have done little to halt the series of self-immolations.
Sangay said in Dharamsala on Thursday that Losar this year should be a festival of prayer and solidarity for the deceased.
"Losar is the Tibetan New Year, which falls on February 11 this year. Given the tragedy of 99 self-immolations so far, and three just this month. We have called and asked Tibetans not to celebrate Losar.
"They should participate in traditions by going to the temple, wearing traditional dress, making offerings and prayers for all those dead, but not to engage in festivities or parties or any form of celebration," he said.
The Tibetan PM-in-exile rued the fact that the atrocities on Tibetans deprived the community of their festive celebrations.
"Losar is a day of joy, a day of new beginning, especially for children, and we would like to introduce to them what the New Year means. But unfortunately, since 2008, given the unfolding tragedy in Tibet, we have not been able to celebrate, which in a way reflects the life and status of Tibetan people around the world," Sangay said.
Indian-based rights groups have also spoken of a massive security clampdown in Tibet and Tibetan areas of China. (ANI)