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Candlelight processions mark Panchen Lama's birthday

April 26, 2010

Dharamshala, April 24, 2010 (Sify News) -- Tibetan exiles here Sunday
celebrated the 21st birthday of the Panchen Lama, a spokesman for the
Tibetan government-in-exile said.

'Special prayer sessions were organised in the morning in which hundreds
of monks participated. In the evening, a candlelight procession was
taken out at McLeodganj,' the official said.

Similar functions were organised in other Buddhist-dominated areas in
the state, including Shimla.

Pema Dargyal, president of Tibetan Youth Congress of Shimla unit, said:
'They are seeking immediate release of Panchen Lama. The Chinese have
kidnapped the boy along with his family when he was just six years old
May 17, 1995.'

Dorge Tsering, another activist, said: 'He is the youngest prisoner in
Chinese custody for the past 15 years and they are not disclosing his
whereabouts even to international human rights agencies.'

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the six-year-old boy identified by the Dalai Lama
as the 11th Panchen Lama, has been missing since 1995.

Despite repeated attempts by several international agencies and human
rights groups to gain access to the boy monk, his whereabouts remains a
mystery.
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