Sunday, 18 March 2012

Second self-immolation within hours

Phayul[Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:18]
March 17: In more disturbing news coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan set himself on fire earlier today in the Rebkong region of eastern Tibet.

Today’s incidence comes hours after yesterday’s self-immolation protest by Lobsang Tsultrim, a monk at the Kirti monastery in Ngaba, which marked exactly one year since the recent wave of self-immolations began on March 16, 2011 with monk Phuntsog’s fiery protest.

30 Tibetans have torched their bodies since 2009 demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.

According to a report by Tibet Times, a Tibetan, identified as a student, self-immolated at around 9:30 am local time earlier today in an apparent protest against the Chinese regime.

The student reportedly died soon after the self-immolation protest. There are currently no details available on the identity of the student.

“A large number of school students and local Tibetans are right now marching towards the Rongwo monastery, carrying the deceased's body and raising slogans,” an exiled Tibetan who had a telephonic conversation with a source in the region said.

“As soon as news of the self-immolation spread, local Tibetans started to gather at the Dolma square in front of the Rongwo monastery to offer prayers,” the report added.

This is the third self-immolation protest in Tibet this week alone and the second in Rebkong following Wednesday’s fiery protest by Lobsang Palden, a monk at the Rongwo monastery.

Lobsang Palden’s current well-being is not known but eyewitnesses have told sources in exile that his chances of survival were “minimal”.

Video clips and images of mass protests in Rebkong in the aftermath of Lobsang Palden’s self-immolation that were leaked out of the area, showed hundreds of monks and local Tibetans gathered in front of the monastery chanting and praying. 

A number of people were also seen holding up a picture of the Dalai Lama, whose image is banned in Tibet, and shouting slogans with their arms raised in the air.

On the same day, a large number of students in Rebkong and in the nearby region of Tsekhog carried out protests.

In Tsekhog, hundreds of students from at least two schools, marched to the county government office, protesting for language rights and equality for Tibetans.

The students, holding a very big banner, calling for freedom of language and equality, marched to the County Government Office building before moving to the County Public Security Bureau Station and then to the People’s Armed Bureau where militia are trained and weaponry stored.

Meanwhile in Rebkong, students from Gedun Choephel middle school, Rebkong nationality school and Yiphu middle school took to the streets in a show of solidarity with Lobsang Palden’s self-immolation protest.

“The students later held demonstrations inside their school after they were outnumbered by police and security forces. Similar peaceful protests by students were also reported in the nearby areas of Rebkong district,” the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration said in a release.

The CTA said it is “seriously concerned” by the latest developments in Tibet and urged the Chinese government to “immediately remove” the security forces from Rongwo monastery and other areas in Rebgong to avert further “unfortunate incidents.”

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