Tibetans in exile not to celebrate New Year

Dharamsala: Political head of the Tibetan people in exile Lobsang Sangay Thursday expressed concern over ongoing self-immolations in Tibet and appealed to the Tibetans across the world to shun the New Year celebrations.

Prayers on stone: Photo by Prashant Sirkek

 “The number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest against repression in Tibet is now reaching 100. Given this continuing tragic situation, I request my fellow Tibetans to not celebrate ‘Losar’ (Tibetan New Year),” Sangay said here in a statement.

He asked his fellows to perform only the customary religious rituals like visiting temples and making offerings on that day. “Do wear our traditional robe to display our identity and tradition,” he said.

According to the Tibetan lunar calendar, ‘Losar’ is the first day of the New Year. Traditionally, it is celebrated in a big way.

Three young Tibetans immolated themselves in Tibet this year alone, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based here said.

A total of 100 people have reportedly killed themselves since 2009 to protest Beijing’s “repressive policies” and demanded the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland, it said.

Appealing to the Tibetans not to undertake drastic actions, Sangay said: “The return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans is the aspiration of Tibetans and our sacred duty to support.”

Reiterating the CTA’s commitment to the “middle-way” approach and to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue, the political successor of the Dalai Lama said: “The responsibility as well as the solution for the current crisis in Tibet lies with the Chinese government.”

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against China’s communist rule in 1959.

Around 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.


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