All roads to Mcleodganj were teeming with people on Friday as Tibetans poured in to pay homage to Jamphel Yeshi, who died after setting himself ablaze on March 26, protesting against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Yeshi’s body was brought from Delhi on Friday. He died on Wednesday.
His coffin was first placed at the Tsuglagkhang temple near the palace of the Dalai Lama, where more than 7,000 Tibetans gathered. A prayer session was also held at the temple.
There were emotional scenes at Tsuglagkhang courtyard as Tibetans wept inconsolably. “He was very close to me. He was the first to attend religious gatherings and prayer sessions,” said Pempa Dhundup, who shared his room with Yeshi at the hostel of Tibetan Transit School in Dharamsala for over a year.
Meanwhile, addressing the gathering after the prayer session, Tibetan parliament-in-exile speaker Penpa Tsering said, “The question is how many more Tibetan lives have to be lost before the issue is resolved.”
Later, the body was taken to a local crematorium. More than 5,000 Tibetans took part in the funeral procession. The last rites were performed in accordance with traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices.