Sikyong (Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile) Lobsang Sangay has urged the Chinese authorities to hand over spiritual leader Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's ashes to his family and disciples and also called for the release of Delek's sister and her daughter who reportedly went missing after being detained by the Chinese police.
Delek, a revered spiritual leader in Tibet, who was serving a life sentence on the charges of "crimes of terror and incitement of separatism" died in a Chinese prison on July 12.
But human rights groups and the exiled Tibetan government have maintained that the charges against Delek were false and Chinese government implicated him for his growing popularity and his steadfast loyalty to the Dalai Lama.
Speaking at the launch of Tibet Policy Institute's journal on Wednesday, Sikyong expressed his solidarity with Delek's relatives and said his disciples feared that the Chinese authorities might have poisoned Delek as his lips and nails had turned black.
Sangay also rebuked China for not handing over Delek's ashes to his family and disciples after the cremation.
"Reports from Tibet say that the ashes of Delek were handed over to the family at first but later forcibly retaken by the authorities," the exiled leader said while imploring the Chinese authorities to hand over the ashes for their significance in Tibetan Buddhist rituals of a deceased.