DHARAMSHALA, January 6: Continuing the fiery episode of self-immolations in the new year, two Tibetans in Tibet set themselves on fire this afternoon.
According to information received from various sources, the incident happened at around 2:40 pm Tibet time in the distraught Ngaba region of eastern Tibet, which alone has seen ten cases of self-immolation since March last year.
While there is scarce information on the details of the two people, eyewitness accounts say that the two people, a monk and a layman, were together when they set themselves ablaze in Ngaba town.
Free Tibet, the UK based organisation campaigning for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, while quoting sources from inside Tibet said in a release today that “the person believed to be a lay person, was heard calling for the return of the Dalai Lama before Chinese forces extinguished the flames and removed him.”
His well-being and whereabouts are unknown.
In other information given by a Tibetan from the Ngaba region currently attending the ongoing Kalachakra teachings in Bodh Gaya, both the Tibetans had their hands folded in prayers as they faced towards the Kirti monastery, engulfed in flames.
“With folded hands they faced towards Kirti Monastery and raised a number of slogans amongst which the audible ones were- ‘Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama’ and ‘We want the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet’,” the Tibetan said quoting eyewitnesses.
The eyewitness confirmed that Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene and forcibly took them away.
“The flames were huge and the layman might have probably died and there is less chances for the monk to survive,” the Tibetan said.
These are the 13th and 14th cases of self-immolations in Tibet since March 2011. Tibetans have set their bodies on fire with an alarming consistency, demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and protesting against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Earlier pamphlets spread around the Ngaba region had proclaimed that many more Tibetans were ready to self-immolate for the common cause of Tibet.