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DSC 2219Dharamshala:  - A vigil and prayer service held in Dharamshala, Northern India on April 3 by Tibetans and supporters, for Drupchen Tsering, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who died after setting himself on fire in protest against the Chinese regime.

On the 49th day since the death of Drupchen Tsering a vigil was held at Martyr’s Pillar, Tsug-la khang Temple, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala from 9am until 12 noon. This event was organised by Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, the Regional Tibetan Women’s association and Students for a Free Tibet

 On Tibetan Independence day, February 13th, Drupchen Tsering self immolated in Kathmandu, Nepal, protesting against China’s rule in Tibet. Nepalese police immediately took his body into their possession.

Despite diplomatic and international pressure, Nepalese authorities have refused to release the body and secretly cremated Drupchen Tsering’s body on the 25th of March. This act, meaning that Tibetans were unable to carry out the appropriate final rites on the body, proves once again the power the Chinese have over the Nepalese government.

“We are holding this Global Vigil for Drupchen Tsering to pay our respect for his ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of Tibet” said Lamsang, General Secretary, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress “Like all the other 114 Tibetans who have self immolated inside Tibet since 2009 to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, Drupchen Tsering self immolation also called for an immediate action by [the] international community to end the crisis in Tibet.”

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Nepal Government [Government’s] secretly [secret] cremation of Drupchen Tsering’s body” said Tenzin Dolkar, Vice President of the Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, “Therefore, we strongly condemn this unfortunate act of Nepal’s government which allowed Chinese [to] Influence on its domestic politics and not even respecting the basic rights to have proper rites of the religion for the diseased [deceased].”

Dorjeess Tseten, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet spoke of China’s hold over Nepal, “ This incident highlight the extent of China’s stranglehold over Nepal, the precarious situation of Tibetan refugees even after escaping from Chinese occupied Tibet.” He furthered this point, “it calls for a greater international monitoring of China’s oppressive influence in Nepal and the protection of the rights of Tibetan refugees there. We are urging our supporters everywhere to call the Nepalese Embassies and Consulates and demand the Nepalese government respect the rights of Tibetan refugees.”

By cremating the body of Drupchen Tsering, Nepal have violated the Customary International Laws: rule 116, compiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross, echoed by the Geneva Convention- which Nepal ratified and acceded to in 1964. This law requires that religious practice be followed it at all possible with regard to the deceased, it stipulates that “the dead must be disposed of in a respectful manner” and that the dead have the fight to be honourably cremated or interred according to the “rites of the religion to which they belonged.”

April 3rd marks the 49th day since the death of Drupchen Tsering; according to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, the consciousness of the deceased enters its next birth within 49 days of one’s death.

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