Passan was from Gyaltse in Shigatse, Tibet. He arrived in India in 1991 and had lived in Dharamsala. He was a wood painter at Norbulingka Institute since 2012.
Lingkor is a path that circulates below where the main temple and where H.H. Dalai Lama's resident are on the tip of McLeod Ganj. Many Tibetan people go there to do circumambulation in the early morning and evening while reciting prayers. It is an important ritual to do so and many walk on the path every day to send prayers. The path is adorned with many prayer flags and surrounded with rush green and trees.
One witness heard him raising slogans 'long life to Gyalwa Rinpoche' while in flame. Others noticed him in flame, tried to get help, but it was too late to rescue him.
He came alone all the way from Shigatse, lived alone in the foreign land, and decided to do his lone protest on the path of prayers.