DHARAMSHALA. March 4: Rigzin Dorje, 19, who set his body on fire raising slogans against the Chinese government on February 8 in Ngaba town, passed away in a Chinese military hospital on February 21. Eyewitnesses had told sources in exile that he was “on the verge of death” following his self-immolation protest.
Rigzin Dorje alias Rigpe was from the Garpa Tsongko household in division no.2 of Me’uruma township, Ngaba and the youngest of six siblings.
Chinese security personnel removed Rigpe from the site of his self-immolation protest to a hospital in Barkham where he passed away.
The exile base of Kirti monastery in a release today said Chinese authorities declined to hand over the deceased’s body to his family.
“Instead they cremated Rigzin Dorje without following traditional Buddhist rituals,” the release said.
“Local Chinese officials have told family members and local Tibetans not to hold prayer gatherings and religious services for Rigpe,” the release added.
Another self-immolating monk, Lobsang Kunchok who set himself ablaze on September 26, 2011 has lost all four limbs. He has also been subjected to verbal abuse from the doctors and Chinese officials at the hospital.
Lobsang Kunchok along with another Kirti monk Lobsang Kalsang, both in their late teens, had carried out their fiery protest in the central town of Ngaba, raising slogans calling for the long-life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and religious freedom in Tibet.
“All four limbs of Lobsang Kunchok have been amputated and he is being fed through a pipe in his throat,” the Dharamshala based Kirti monastery said in its release.
London based Free Tibet in a separate release today said that Lobsang Kunchok’s family have been denied any visiting rights and have not seen their son since his self-immolation.
“Lobsang Kunchok has been subjected to verbal abuse from doctors and Chinese officials including accusations of trying to destroy 'his country',” Free Tibet said.
Citing a source in Tibet, the group said large numbers of Chinese state security personnel have been present in Ngaba Town
– on the streets, at road blocks, monitoring the monastery, conducting house-to-house searches.
“People in Ngaba are being beaten and detained by security personnel, both in the street and in their homes, for no apparent reason other than being Tibetan,” Free Tibet said. “This has been ongoing since the first self-immolation last year and it continues.”
Since 2009, 24 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
Tibet is currently facing a ban on visitors and foreign journalists trying to enter Tibet have been detained and warned with visa cancellations.
Many parts of Tibet continue to remain under an undeclared martial law following the ongoing wave of self-immolation and mass protests that have been brutally suppressed.