By Tendar Tsering
Tamding Thar's body being cremated in Chentsa, Amdo, eastern Tibet.
DHARAMSHALA, June 16: Tamding Thar, the elderly Tibetan who set himself on fire yesterday morning in Chentsa, Amdo, eastern Tibet, in an apparent protest against the Chinese government was cremated later in the evening.
Tamding Thar is survived by his children and wife.
Despite a heavy deployment of security forces, thousands of Tibetans attended the cremation to pay their last respects.
Tamding Thar belonged to a nomadic family in Lowa village and was forcibly moved to the region, a few years ago, under the 'nomad relocation' policy of the Chinese government. He set himself on fire at around 6.30 am (local time) yesterday in front of the local Chinese police station.
"Tamding Thar not only put petrol on his body but also drank it and had coiled his body with iron barbed wires so that the Chinese police won't be able to easily get hold of him," Rinchen, a native of Chentsa who is currently living in Dharamshala told Phayul.
Tibetans started to gather soon after Tamdin Thar's self-immolation protest, demanding that the Chinese authorities return his body. After his body was handed over, hundreds of more Tibetans joined a march, carrying Tamding Thar to a remote nomadic area in the region.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration yesterday said that the situation in Chentsa is "currently very tense" with the deployment of hundreds of police and military personnel keeping a strict vigil on the movements of the local Tibetan community.
Speaking to Phayul, Rinchen added that he has been unable to reach Chentsa as the area is suffering a virtual lockdown. "It seems that everyone has been warned against receiving or making phone calls."
However, in spite of the imminent security threats, Tibetans in the region not only attended Tamding Thar's funeral but also made offerings of Khataks, traditional Tibetan scarves, and lighted lamps at the site of his self-immolation protest in front of the police station.
Images smuggled out of Tibet showed Khataks and candles lit in front of the police station gates.
The CTA expressed "deep sadness" at Tamding Thar's death and "strongly" urged China to "reform its failed policies in Tibet to end the on-going wave of self-immolations."
"The Central Tibetan Administration has repeatedly appealed to the Chinese government to address the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people and to provide a lasting and peaceful solution to the grim situation prevailing inside Tibet," CTA said.
Dharamshala holds candle light vigil
Exiled Tibetans in Dharamshala hold a candle light vigil in solidarity with Tamding Thar on June 16, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
The Dharamshala regional chapters of the women's association and youth congress organised a candle light vigil yesterday evening in solidarity with Tamding Thar's self-immolation protest.
Hundreds of Tibetans and foreigners marched from the main square in McLeod Ganj to the Tibetan Martyr's Pillar near the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple.
40 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire since 2009 demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.