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Tibetan self-immolates as formation of 17th exile Tibetan parliament drags on

(TibetanReview.net, Jun22’21) – An about 60-year-old Tibetan man named Lobsang Tenzin of I Village in the Tibetan settlement in Hunsur city of Mysuru District, Karnataka state, has suffered non-fatal, superficial burns after he immolated himself on Jun 20.

He was stated to have poured kerosene oil and torched himself at home at about 10:30 AM but was quickly noticed by his daughter who put out the flames. He was reported to have suffered burns on his face, right hand, and back. After receiving initial hospital treatment for 6-7% burns, he is now reported to be receiving treatment at home.

Lobsang Tenzin has told the Tibetan-language Tibet Times newspaper Jun 21 afternoon that the continued failure of the settlement of the controversy over the formation of the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) “which would surely have dismayed His Holiness the Dalai Lama” was what compelled him to take the extreme step of sacrificing his life. He has made it clear that he had no other explanations to offer.

He has also told the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Jun 22 that he felt very concerned that though the election to the TPiE is held on the basis of provincial and religious constituencies, after being voted in, the elected candidates have an obligation to act as delegates for the common good of all Tibetans. However, there were now two irreconcilable divisions of them and this would definitely have dismayed His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Lobsang Tenzin is reported to be active in social and voluntary services, including during the current pandemic outbreak, and continues to be what is called a “chimi” (elected group leader) of his village.

The oath-taking ceremony took place on Jun 8, but only 21 elected candidates did so as prescribed by the Charter of Tibetans in Exile. Twenty-two others did not want to comply with the Charter as the pro tem Speaker who was to administer their oath under it was sworn in by the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission whose legitimacy they refused to accept.

However, these 22 elected candidates had no objection to the fact that the newly-elected Sikyong Penpa Tsering was sworn in by the same Chief Justice Commissioner, which took place in an online presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 27.

Strong emotions have been expressed by people and supporters on both the sides of the issue as the formation of the 17th TPiE continues to drag on.

While the group of 21 emphasizes the importance of abiding by the Charter, the other group insists that oath-taking by other “acceptable” means without someone to administer the oath and to swear them in should be okay.

But the Tibetan Chief Tibetan Election Commissioner did not seem to agree. He called on everyone to uphold the sanctity of the Charter and on the elected candidates to take their oath accordingly, so that his office could get on with the task of conducting the election of the Speaker and deputy Speaker.

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