DHARAMSALA, May 22: Tibetans and their supporters in Dharamsala carried out a candle light vigil on May 21 evening to express solidarity and support with Tenzin Gyatso who self-immolated in eastern Tibet in protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.
Led by a young Tibetan with a microphone and another with the colourful Tibetan national flag, the group carrying candles and portrait of Tibetan self-immolator, marched from the main square in Mcleod Ganj to the Martyr’s Pillar at Tsug-lag-khang, the main temple.
Marching through the town at around 6 pm, the participants recited Jangchub Semchok prayer [Generation of Boddhisatva’s heart]:
May the precious bodhichitta
Be awakened where it has not
And where it has already been awakened
At the Martyrs Pillar, a minute’s silence was observed in honor of the Tibetan self-immolators and all of the Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the Tibetan people.
Gen Yangla of Regional Tibetan Women’s Association briefed the gathering about the latest Tibetan self-immolation protest from inside Tibet.
Tenzin Gyatso, a 35-yr-old Tibetan father of four set himself on fire at around 8 pm (local time) on May 20 in Khangsar township in Tawu county in eastern Tibet’s traditional Kham province. Chinese policemen immediately arrived at the protest site, tried to extinguish the fire and took him away. It is not known whether he survived the fiery protest or succumbed to the burn injuries.
Gyatso was upset with the recent deployment of large number of Chinese police and armed security forces in his hometown who were harassing and intimidating the local Tibetans. He took to self-immolation to protest against the ‘excesses’ by the security forces.
Addressing the gathering, Tenzin Jigme, President of the Tibetan Youth Congress spoke on the prevailing critical situation in Tibet where Tibetans are not only detained, jailed and sentenced not only “for speaking up but also for remaining silent”. He also emphasized the need for every Tibetan to put in their efforts responsibly and work towards a free Tibet.
The candle light vigil was jointly organized by Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress and Students for a Free Tibet-India.