Dharamsala Tibetan self-immolator identified

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, July 31: The Tibetan man who died after burning himself on the circumambulation path around His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamshala on July 29 has been identified.

20526653_1610408915670179_1959142234_n“The Tibetan man who self-immolated at the circumambulation path on Saturday has been identified as Dhondup, a wood painter from the Norbulingka Institute here in Dharamsala,” Tibetan Settlement Officer (TSO) Dawa Rinchen said.

The deceased had apparently taken a half-day leave from work on Saturday and his absence from work today alarmed some keen observers.

A picture being circulated on social networking sites showing one of the slippers of the self-immolator with paints scattered on it and his resemblance with the image of the charred body compelled his colleagues to look for him at his rented room. They found that his room was locked and the landlord had not seen him since he left for work on Saturday.

Upon hearing the account, the TSO got in touch with the local police and headed to his rented room with the key which was recovered from the scene beside his charred body in the bush.

“The key opened the locked door rented by Dhondup and we thoroughly searched his room. But we didn’t recover any message or will,” TSO Dawa said.

20526833_1610398765671194_60410760_nThe connection didn’t stop there. Among other things recovered from the scene, the police had found a note with the name, Nyima Gyalpo written on it, who turns out to be his in-charge at work. The note also had a phone number on the other side of the page which turned out to be the area’s cable operator’s number.

“He asked me for the cable operator’s number few days ago as he had moved his room and he wrote it down on the paper as he doesn’t keep a phone,” one of his colleagues told Tibet Express.

Not only has the unknown man been identified, a two elderly Tibetans have come forward to tell their account of the story.

Bushi, an old woman from Jampaling Old People’s Home at Lhagyal Ri, said, “I saw the man engulfed in a ball of fire while on circumambulation. He shouted ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’. I ran as it frightened me and I shouted for help.”

20562056_1610399219004482_11273447_nAnother witness, an aged Tibetan man, said he saw the man shouting ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’ while he was circumambulating.

Norbulingka Institute has held a prayer session for the deceased today.

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