By Sherab Woeser
File photo of Norbu Damdul, a former monk at Kirti Monastery who self immolated calling for 'complete independence for Tibet' on October 15, 2011. This photo was taken in 2009 when Norbu Damdul was still a monk.
DHARAMSHALA, October 15: Yet another Tibetan self-immolated in the distraught Ngaba region of eastern Tibet earlier today protesting China’s rule over Tibet.
The incident happened at around 11.50 am local time.
The individual is being described as Norbu Damdul, around 19 years of age who is a former monk at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba.
The exile base of Kirti Monastery in a release today quoted an eyewitness as saying that Norbu Damdul set himself on fire in the central town of Ngaba.
“Engulfed in flames, Norbu Damdul raised slogans demanding ‘Complete Independence for Tibet’ and ‘Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet’”, the release said.
Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene and after dousing the flames started beating Norbu Damdul.
“Although his body was severely burned but he looked alive as the Chinese security personnel bundled him into a small car,” the eyewitness was quoted as saying.
Right now there is no information on Norbu Damdul’s whereabouts.
The release said that following the incident, Tibetans started gathering at the scene but a large contingent of armed Chinese security personnel arrived and dispersed the crowd.
“The gathered Tibetans were at once dispersed on gun point by the security personnel and the main roads leading in and out of Ngaba district were immediately barred,” the eyewitness said.
Two Tibetans, Khaying and Choephel, who had torched their bodies on October 7 protesting China’s rule over Tibet, later passed away in Chinese government hospitals under tight security surveillance.
This latest incident of peaceful protest against the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet has taken the toll of self-immolations to eight in this year alone.
A global campaign led by the Central Tibetan Administration and various Tibetan NGOs and support groups is currently underway to put pressure on China to withdraw its troops from Ngaba Kirti Monastery and rescind its repressive policies in the region.
Since monk Phuntsog’s self immolation in March earlier this year, Chinese authorities have taken over Kirti Monastery and deployed, according to sources, around 50,000 security personnel in the region.
Over 300 monks from Kirti monastery are still unaccounted for and have disappeared since the military clampdown began.