Exiled Tibetans pay homage to self-immolated martyrs in Dharamsala
Tibetans participated in a special prayer session here on Wednesday to pay homage to compatriots who recently self-immolated, even as there is change in the regime in China.
The surge in self-immolations in China in protest over its rule in Tibet has heightened tension in recent months.
The current reported death toll from self-immolation among protesting Tibetans has now reached 86, with 23 alone in the month of November this year.
At around 6.30 pm on November 27, 24 year- old Kelsang Kyab set himself on fire outside the People's Government building in Kyangtsa township in Tibet.
General Secretary Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Tashi Lamsang, said the prayer session was organised keeping in view the possibility of a natural disaster as well as for martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Tibet.
Referring to the change of guard in China, Lamsang said that it was time for them to support Tibetans and help them to maintain peace and freedom.
"We want to say that if they really care about peace and freedom and also non-violent struggle for freedom, it is time for them to support Tibet and stand for justice and freedom in Tibet," he said.
China has branded the self-immolators 'terrorists' and criminals, and has blamed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, for inciting them.
Beijing has termed the Dalai Lama a dangerous separatist, but he denies supporting violence and says he merely seeks greater autonomy for his homeland.
China has ruled Tibet since 1950, when Communist troops marched in and announced its 'peaceful liberation'.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising, has accused China of 'cultural genocide'.
China rejects such criticism, saying its rule ended serfdom and brought development to a backward area.