Hundreds gather in prayer for woman lit on fire on Toronto bus

Nyima Dolma, 28, died of her injuries on July 5 in hospital. (Toronto Police Service - image credit)
Nyima Dolma, 28, died of her injuries on July 5 in hospital. (Toronto Police Service - image credit)

Hundreds gathered on Friday to pray for Nyima Dolma, a 28-year-old Torontonian who died weeks after she was lit on fire on a TTC bus.

Urgyen Badheytsang, who was among those who attended the service at the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre, said it was important for the community to gather in prayer.

For Badheytsang, that meant praying for Dolma to have a better next life, a speedy re-birth, and for no one to ever have to experience this kind of violence again.

"Her life has been extinguished. It's so sad," Badheytsang told CBC News.

"I think we're still trying to understand what's happening."

Dolma was attacked by a stranger at Kipling station on June 17, and died in hospital on July 5. Police have said they suspect the attack was motivated by hate and was random.

The alleged attacker, Tenzin Norbu, has since been charged with multiple offences including attempted murder and assault with a weapon, and is due back in court on July 18.

Pelin Sidki/CBC
Pelin Sidki/CBC

Tenzin Chime, who also goes by Tsomo, is a program coordinator for the Tibetan Women's Association of Ontario. She said Friday that since Dolma's death, more victims of gender-based violence in the community have voiced concerns about the lack of resources for victims and those struggling with mental health.

"We take this opportunity to call on all levels of government to create more accessible, culturally-relevant resources for those who are seeking support."

Pelin Sidki/CBC
Pelin Sidki/CBC

Thupten Namdol, another community member, said he was "very sad" to see Dolma's life taken from her. He said this is the first time he's ever seen something like this in the Toronto Tibetan community.

"We have been always following the teachings of Buddha — we're supposed to be very kind, compassionate, and we should never think of hurting anybody," said Namdol.

Namdol said he hopes to find more answers as to how such an act of violence could happen to a fellow Tibetan, or to anyone at all.

"This kind of thing should never happen in the future."