DHARAMSALA, Jul 18: Tibetans and supporters in Dharamsala today participated in a public march to express solidarity and demand justice to late Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his family who suspect that he had been murdered in prison.
Carrying Tibetan national flags, pictures of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and playcards with slogans such as ‘murdered in cold blood’, ‘justice for Tenzin Delek’ and ‘stop killing innocent Tibetans, the demonstrators marched from Mcleod Ganj to Kacheri in lower Dharamsala.
Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was one of the most prominent Tibetan political prisoner and a most revered Tibetan Buddhist teacher who passed away under unknown circumstances in Chinese prison on July 12 after serving thirteen years of his life sentence. His body was cremated on July 17 in a police facility in Chendu, Sichuan province against the wishes of his family members who wanted traditional funeral rites to be conducted in his hometown.
The march was jointly organized by five Tibetan NGOs based in Dharamsala, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet-India.
In a statement released on the day, Geshe Nyima, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s cousin based in Dharamsala expressed deep sadness at the loss of his cousin and the organizers of the march held Chinese government responsible for Rinpoche’s death and urged ‘the international community to stand up against the ongoing inhuman treatment inside Tibet and to demand an independent inquiry into Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death’.
“I am heartbroken at the loss of my dear cousin and our beloved Buddhist teacher. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was an innocent man who suffered 13 years of imprisonment, torture and abuse in a Chinese prison for simply advocating for the rights and well-being of His holiness the Dalai Lama,” Geshe Nyima, Rinpoche’s cousin said in the statement.
“When a high profile Tibetan political prisoner like Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche dies in Chinese prison due to routine torture and ill-treatment, we can only imagine the condition of thousands of other Tibetan political prisoners who go through similar cruelty if not worse. I call upon the United Nations and world leaders to question the Chinese justice system,” said Lukar Jam, a former political prisoner and President of Gu-Chu-Sum movement Association of Tibet.
Tenzin Dolkar, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet said, “An innocent Tibetan Buddhist monk has died at the hands of Chinese government. His death is a harsh reminder of the violent and brutal reality of the Chinese-occupied Tibet and the fatal consequence for those who speak up for truth, justice, human rights and freedom for Tibetans in Tibet.”
“China is fully responsible for Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death. We hold China accountable for his murder in prison. We demand China to release the abducted 11th Panchen Lama before something similar happens,” said Gelek Jamyang, President of National Democratic Party of Tibet.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news about Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death. This incident reaffirms our longstanding position that the Chinese Communist government cannot be trusted; we call upon all Tibetans to remain steadfast and intensify our campaigns for the freedom of Tibet and the Tibetan people,” said Tenzin Jigme, President of Tibetan Youth Congress.
The organizers further demanded Chinese government to provide a clear answer regarding the murder of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and put an end to the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters. They also demanded intervention by the United Nations on the case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
For earlier reports on Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, click here.