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prayer-service-2012-dharamshala-TibetDharamshala: Marking the self-immolation of Gudup, 43, from Eastern Tibet, the exile community of Dharamshala - India, reacted with a peaceful candlelight vigil to observe the latest fiery protest from the land of snows.

An official prayer service also organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at the main Tibetan temple in Dharamshala, India to to mourn and express solidarity with all those Tibetans who have self-immolated for the cause of Tibet.

Gudup; a keen writer from Driru - Kham, took to the streets of Nagchu (Kham) at around 10am on October 4th 2012. Reportedly, before self-immolating, Gudup could be heard calling for the return of Tibet's revered spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, as well as for ‘freedom'.

The vigil, which was organised by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC), Regional Tibetan Women's Association (RTWA), and Students for a Free Tibet India (SFT) drew more than 200 members of the community to the streets. Holding candles aloft and raising Tibetan flags, Tibetans closed their shops and businesses and convened in unity.

Gudup left a letter stressing the sufferings that Tibetans are facing nowadays. He also called for a strong "Unity" amongst Tibetans, saying "keep our strength and energy together, no matter who win or lose."

In a symbolic act of connection the peaceful protestors also held a stretch of ‘Khata' (traditional Tibetan prayer scarf) as they marched from the main square to the courtyard of the Main Temple (Tsuklakhang).

vigil-2012-dharamshala-indiaAmid a series of speeches and a moment of silence, the assembly reflected upon the most recent loss from within Tibet, which currently witnesses an unprecedented military lockdown under Chinese rule, particularly in regions such as Kham.

Thupten, president of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, stated:

"Continuous self-immolations in Tibet and growing protests in Tibet are a clear indication of China's loss of control in Tibet".

"As Tibetans-in-exile stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people inside Tibet, we need Governments and people around the world to support and stand with the non-violent freedom struggle of Tibet".

In a press release from the vigil, sources state that Gudup always had a keen interest in Tibetan history, and it has emerged that he had a blog. It is reported that he came to India in 2005, and was a student at the school for newly arrived refugees in Dharamshala, until his return to Tibet in 2006. He was subsequently arrested and released in 2008.

"The number of immolations now having reached fifty-three is a matter of utmost concern and proof of the worsening situation in Tibet for which we strongly urge the UN and International community to break their silence" said Dorjee Tsetan, National Director of SFT India.

"60 years of China's failed policies in Tibet where freedom of expression is supressed and heavily military clampdowns are practiced fuel the on-going wave of self-immolation protests in Tibet"

CTA organised an official prayer service at the main temple in Dharamsala on Friday, 5 October, to mourn and express solidarity with all those Tibetans who have self-immolated for the cause of Tibet, including Gudup, Yungdrung and Jamyang Palden.

Thousands of Tibetans, including the entire officials of the CTA attended the prayer service. Since 2009, 53 Tibetans in Tibet have self-immolated demanding freedom for Tibetans and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

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