Tibetans-in-exile hold candle light vigil in Dharamshala
Exiled Tibetans held a candlelight vigil here to express solidarity with their compatriots who committed self immolations in Tibet protesting against the Chinese government's repressive policies.
Tibetan exiles, Buddhist monks and even some local people came together while marching with candles, placards and Tibetan flags in their hands as they hummed songs in memory of the martyrs.
Tenzin Jigdel, a protestor, urged the international community to press China to address the issue of the Tibetans at the earliest.
"In November also we have seen almost 27 or 28 cases of self immolations inside Tibet. This highlights the gravity of the situation inside Tibet; we are now urging all the world leaders to seriously look into this matter," Jigdel said.
"We are requesting the world leaders to come together and form a contact group where like- minded governments can use this contact group as a platform to discuss about the Tibet issue. And as a group collectively engage in mounting pressure on China to seriously address this issue for once and for all," Jigdel added.
The surge in self-immolations has heightened tension in recent months in Tibet as well as in China.
The number of cases of self-immolation by Tibetans recently touched 87, with 24 alone in November this year.
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.
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.