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Monk's hush-hush cremation slammed

  Activists demand respect for cultural rights of cummunity

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The District Administration Office, Kathmandu, today said the body of a Tibetan monk, who set himself ablaze on the premises of Boudhanath Stupa, was finally declared unclaimed and disposed of after his kin failed to approach the authorities to receive the body.

A DAO source said the body was cremated in Pashupati Aryaghat on March 25, wishing ‘eternal rest for the departed soul’. On February 13, Drupchen Tsering, 22, had doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire on the premises of the Boudhanath Stupa in Bouddha to protest ‘Chinese rule in Tibet’.

The monk was rushed to hospital where he was said to be in critical condition. He later died of third degree burns. The body was kept in the mortuary of TU Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, until its disposal.

The DAO had published a public notice in Gorkhapatra on March 9 asking the kin of the monk to receive the body within seven days from the date of publication.

“After no one approached us to claim the body within the given time, we declared it unclaimed and disposed of it as per the existing law of the country,” the official said.

According to police, around four Tibetan organisations operating in Kathmandu Valley had come to claim the body. “But, we did not hand over the body to them after their authenticity and kinship with the monk could not be established,” a police officer informed, adding that only concerned family members had the legal right to receive the body of any deceased as per the law.

Meanwhile, human rights defenders have expressed concern about the DAO’s move to dispose of the Tibetan’s body in a secret manner. “We learned that the Nepal Government had ignored the plea of the Tibetan refugee community to hand over the body for last rites in accordance with the Tibetan Buddhist culture,” said a press statement jointly issued by Professor Kapil Shrestha, Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, Bhawani Prasad Kharel, Govinda Sharma ‘Bandi’ and Satish Raj Mainali.

“It was unfortunate that the Tibetan immolated himself in Nepal. While we are against any kind of violent activity, including self-immolation, we are equally concerned about the rights of Tibetan refugees in Nepal to profess, practice and manifest their religion and culture, which includes allowing them to receive the body for last rites,” it added.

The statement said denial of the same is against religious and cultural rights of a person and a community.

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