February 27, 2013
Honorable Baburam Bhattarai
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
Re: Return the deceased body of Drupchen Tsering
BY POSTAGE AND EMAIL
Dear Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and other respected Leaders:
We are deeply outraged and disappointed by the lack of concern your Government has shown in handling the body of the deceased Drupchen Tsering, 25, who self-immolated for Tibetan freedom on Feb 13, 2013 in Boudha. It has been over 15 days since his demise and the authorities have ignored repeated requests to return the body to the local Tibetan community. It is all the more hurtful since your country has a strong Buddhist culture and appreciation for the importance of rites and rituals after a person has passed away.
It is clear that there is strong Chinese interference in your domestic politics. The Nepali government's response to the self-immolation is eerily similar to China's handling of the bodies of self-immolators inside Tibet, where the Chinese police bundle the body hurriedly and cremate it secretly. Relatives of the late Drupchen Tsering are living in anxiety due to the fear of being arrested if they should come forward to claim the body and yet are tormented by the inability to perform the final rites for the deceased in accordance with Buddhist tradition.
In addition, there have been cases of intimidation in public arena where large banners mysteriously appeared purportedly made by “Locals and youths of Boudha”, issuing thinly veiled threats against nonviolent protests by using phrases such as, "The Soul of the victim will rot in hell. You want blood, we will give you war." What is even more troubling is the lack of proper response by the authorities in curbing such intimidation and hate speech and incitement of violence against a vulnerable minority of the community.
As the country of Buddha's birthplace, we expect your government to understand how the final rites for a deceased person forms a central part of Buddhist tradition. As a democratic country, your government has been a party to almost all major human rights treaties including both Human Rights covenants, which protect the right to free exercise of religion.
By not handing over the body of Drupchen Tsering, you are hindering basic human rights for the deceased, his relatives, his community, and Buddhists worldwide. This should be a concern not only for the Tibetan community but for all Nepalese who love and treasure their country.
We respectfully request the Government of Nepal to do the following:
Return the body of Drupchen Tsering to the local Tibetan community so that final rites may be carried out without any delay in accordance with Buddhist and Himalayan custom.
Protect the local Tibetan community from intimidation and physical abuse from those bent on creating tension and division in the community under foreign influence.
Adhere to the universal principles of human rights that they have ratified, recall the long-standing ties of friendship between the Tibetan and Nepali peoples, and stand for Nepal’s freedom from foreign dominance.
We thank you for your attention to these matters and anticipate immediate actions.
Jigme Ugen, USA
Tenpa D. Gashi, Canada