Khandu’s helicopter, in which he was traveling with four others, went missing Saturday morning soon after it took off from Tawang for the state capital Itanagar. After four days of aerial and ground search, the chopper’s debris and 5 dead bodies were found yesterday in Lobotang, 30 km north of the 13,700 feet Sela Pass in Tawang district. Family members of Khandu identified his body yesterday.
Organized by the exile Tibetan government’s department of religion and culture, the prayer was attended by Tibetan government officials and local Tibetans.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, currently touring US, has expressed sadness over his friend Khandu’s death. In a message to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recalled the fond welcome Khandu had extended to him on his recent visit to Tawang and extended his condolences to Khandu’s family and the families of all those who died with him.
The Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) Wednesday expressed its “deep sadness and worry about the tragic demise of a young, honest and one of the best chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu.”
“Moreover, he has brought immense development and improvement in the lives of the people of Arunachal Pradesh and the Tibetans living there in peace and harmony,” the Tibetan prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche said.
“Since his death is a great loss to both the Tibetans and the people of Arunachal Pradesh, I, along with my cabinet colleagues offer our prayers and heartfelt condolences to the people of the state and his family members,” Rinpoche said.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, in its condolence message, said it was deeply worried and prayed for the safe return of the chief minister.
“The state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Tibetan people have had historical relationship, which was further strengthened and deepened during the tenure of Dorjee Khandu La’s chief ministership. The Parliament remains highly appreciative of his leadership and concern,” Speaker Penpa Tsering said in the message.
“The Tibetan Parliament in Exile expresses its deep condolence to the people of Arunachal Pradesh. We wish to convey our condolence to all the bereaved family members of the late chief minister,” the message noted.
Mr Dorjee Khandu was sworn in as the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh in 2007.