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Tibetans Commemorate Martyr's Day

May 1, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
April 29, 2009

Dharamsala, April 29 -- Tibetan exiles on
Wednesday commemorated the 11th anniversary of
the Tibetan Martyr’s Day to pay homage to fellow
Tibetans who selflessly sacrificed their lives
for the cause of Tibet and its people.

Members of the pro-independence Tibetan Youth
Congress (TYC) organized a religious ceremonial
function early this morning at Dharamsala’s
Lhagyal-ri to pay tribute to Tibetan martyrs .
Former leaders of the TYC and a large number of
Tibetans took part in the function, which
included incense burning and prayer offering.

Khata and butter lamps were placed before a
memorial statue of Pawo Thupten Ngodup, a Tibetan
activist who immolated himself during a Tibetan independence campaign in 1998.

"As we observe Martyr’s Day to commemorate the
11th anniversary of Martyr Thupten Ngodup’s
demise, we salute all those brave Tibetan men and
women who have made selfless and supreme
sacrifices for the freedom and Independence of
Tibet," the chief guest of the function and
former president of TYC Mr Karma Chophel said.

"As we remember Pawo Thupten Ngodup and all the
Martyrs of Tibet, it is a solemn moment for every
Tibetan to uphold their spirit and dignity by
rededicating oneself to the true aspiration of
our suffering brethrens in Tibet," he added.

"The struggle for Rangzen (independence) has
remained the true aspiration and genuine will of
those Tibetan who have laid down their lives for
the cause of Tibet, and we must not fail to
uphold the purpose and essence of their supreme
sacrifices," Chophel, a former speaker of the
Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, said.

The youth organization has also planned a candle
light vigil here this evening to offer prayers
for the Tibetan martyrs. A TYC activist said,
similar events were also simultaneously being
organized by its regional chapters elsewhere around the world.

On April 29, 1998, Thupten Ngodup, until then a
silent activist, set himself on fire and died in
Delhi while waiting for his turn to take part in
a hunger strike unto death organized by the
Tibetan Youth Congress to draw international
attention towards the plight of Tibetan people.

In memory of the late Pawo Thupten Ngodup and
thousands of other Tibetan martyrs, the day has
since been marked by the Tibetan Youth Congress as "Tibetan Martyr’s Day".

Tibetan Youth Congress, headquartered in
Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan
Government-in-Exile in northern India, is a
worldwide Organisation of Tibetans united in the
common struggle for the restoration of Tibet’s
independence as opposed to the Dalai Lama’s
policy of seeking autonomy. It is the largest
non-governmental organization in the exile Tibetan community.
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