Dharamsala, March 9 - Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan government-in-exile here is concerned: There have been 107 immolations for the cause of Tibetan freedom since 2009. The number 108, especially auspicious in Tibetan Buddhism, could turn inauspicious with one more immolation.
"Life is precious. We have always discouraged drastic action," Sangay told IANS.
Blaming Beijing for the self-immolations, Sangay explained that 108 is auspicious: A rosary to count mantra recitations comes with 108 beads. "But unfortunately, if there is one more self-immolation, it will be inauspicious in the history of Tibet," Sangay was quoted as saying on the website of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The democratically elected Tibetan political leader said the aspiration of a lay Tibetan inside Tibet is just freedom, something that people in many other countries can take for granted.
According to the CTA, self-immolations in Tibet started in 2009 and there was only one case that year.
In 2011, there were 13 self-immolations. In 2012, the majority of self-immolations took place, including 28 in November alone, when the Chinese Communist Party had its 18th Party Congress.
The common cry of all the self-immolators is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama be allowed to return to Tibet, which must be given autonomy and freedom of worship.
Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region's People's Congress, Friday accused the Dalai Lama "clique" of encouraging self-immolations in ethnic Tibetan areas.
"We have evidence that the Dalai clique is involved in it. Self-immolation is inhumane. Convincing others to commit such acts is even more inhumane," he was quoted as saying at the annual legislative session in Beijing.
Sangay, the political successor of the Dalai Lama, said the Chinese, instead of finding solution on self-immolations inside Tibet, are resorting to playing the blame game.
"They are blaming us the instigators. We welcome the Chinese authorities to visit our offices (in Dharamsala) to substantiate their allegations," he said.
In 1959, the occupying Chinese troops suppressed the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa and forced the Dalai Lama and over 80,000 Tibetans into exile in India and neighbouring countries. (IANS)