By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, August 2: Tibetans and supporters in Dharamsala today attended the funeral procession of Dhondup who self-immolated in Dharamsala and passed away.
Dhondup, a wood painter from Norbulingka Institute located in Dharamsala, self-immolated on the circumambulation path around His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s residence on July 29. Two elderly Tibetan eyewitnesses claimed that Dhondup shouted ‘long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama,’ before he passed away.
A prayer session and brief ceremony to pay last respects to the deceased was held at Lhagyal Ri, located almost half-way on the circumambulation path around the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s residence.
The President of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, Members of the Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) and Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile as well as representatives of various Dharamsala-based NGOs came to pay their respects.
“Being a Tibetan and a Buddhist, the Kashag is here to pray in solidarity with the deceased,” the President of CTA, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said while addressing the media after the prayer session.
Sikyong Sangay also reiterated the Kashag’s appeal to the Tibetans to shun self-immolation as a protest method and urged the Tibetans to live and contribute to the Tibetan cause.
“The Kashag has clearly and resolutely made repeated appeals in the past and we are renewing the call again for the Tibetans to do away with the fiery protest. We urge the Tibetans living inside and outside Tibet not to self-immolate. We will strive to meet the self-immolators’ aspirations,” Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said.
“Tibetans in exile have the right and freedom to hold or organise any movement for the Tibetan cause. We don’t approve Tibetans resorting to self-immolation in exile. Instead, we urge the Tibetans in exile to live for Tibet and contribute to the Tibetan cause. The Kashag is considering not attending prayer sessions for self-immolation protests in the future and may not publish the report on the CTA’s official web page as well,” Sikyong Sangay further added.
The funeral procession began from Lhagyal Ri, with hundreds of Tibetans and supporters chanting and following the body of Dorjee Tsering covered with the Tibetan National flag. Dhondup’s body was finally cremated at around 6:30 am at the crematorium located half kilometer to Mcleod Ganj.