Tibetan teen self-immolator succumbs to burn injuries

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, July 23: Tenzin Choeying, the 19-yr-old Tibetan student of Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS) at Sarnath, Varanasi who set himself on fire for the cause of Tibetan people, has passed away.

20227413_1601396469904757_1905207337_nHe passed away yesterday at 4:50 pm at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi.

The Tibetan teen set himself on fire on July 14 near the university’s boy’s hostel entrance at around 9 am. Following his fiery protest, Tenzin Choeying was rushed to the Heritage Hospital located near Banaras Hindu University where the doctors reportedly told that he had sustained 66.66% burn injuries.

However his conditions deteriorated and he was airlifted to Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi on July 20. His condition became critical on July 21 and unfortunately he succumbed to the burn injuries at the hospital on July 22.

As Tibetans across the world hold prayer sessions for the deceased, hundreds of Tibetans in Dharamsala carried out a candle light vigil yesterday at 6:30 pm to honour Tenzin Choeying’s sacrifice and express solidarity with his family.

DSC_0324Tenzin Choeying’s body will arrive at Dharamsala on July 25 and will be cremated on July 26. Born on Feb 12, 1998, Tenzin Choeying is the youngest of four children born to a Tibetan family in Kollegal Tibetan settlement in South India. He was a second year student of Purva Madhyama at CUTS and a member of Tibetan Youth Buddhist Association, Varanasi. He has left a hand written letter addressed to his best friend Nubz (probably a nickname) in which he wrote: “My body is for Tibet and Tibetan youngsters to open their eyes to learn Tibetan language.”

While stating that Tenzin Choeying’s sacrifice for the Tibetan cause is to be honoured, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay urged Tibetans to live and fight for the cause. The President made the statement at a prayer session held on July 22 for the late Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiobo, a day before Choeying passed away.

“Tenzin Choeying’s condition is critical. Please keep him in your prayers. His sacrifice for the cause of Tibet is to be honoured. We echo and support his aspirations. But please remember the life of every Tibetan is precious and we must be alive to fight for our cause,” President Sangay stated.

“In a free country, we have the freedom to embark on all possible methods to contribute to advancing our cause. One’s life is too precious,” the President added.

Tezin Choeying is the sixth Tibetan to have self-immolated and passed away in exile for the cause of the Tibetan people.