A file photo of Losang Gyatso, 19 who self-immolated shouting slogans of protest against the Chinese government in Ngaba, eastern Tibet on February 13, 2012. (Photo/Kirti monastery)
DHARAMSHALA, February 13: Yet another teenage Tibetan monk has set his body on fire protesting against the Chinese government today.
The Tibetan has been identified as Losang Gyatso, age 19, a monk at the Kirit monastery in the beleaguered region of Ngaba, eastern Tibet.
The exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, in a release late today, confirmed the information.
“At about 2.30 pm on February 13th, Kirti monk Losang Gyatso, age 19, of the Badzritsang house in Naktsangma of Cha township, set himself on fire at the top of the main street of Ngaba town,” the release said.
“Losang Gyatso was shouting slogans of protest against the Chinese government,” eyewitnesses in the region have told sources in exile.
Special police forces arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. According to the eyewitnesses the Chinese security personnel were beating Losang Gyatso as they took him away to an undisclosed location.
At the time of reporting there is no information on his condition or whereabouts.
Losang Gyatso is the eldest of his four siblings and is being described as “one of the best and brightest students in his class”.
At the scene of Losang Gyatso’s self-immolation, two unidentified Tibetan youths were severely beaten by Chinese security personnel.
“One managed to get away with help from the public onlookers, but the other was led away by two policemen,” Kirti monastery said in its release. “Witnesses said he was bleeding profusely from the head and arm”.
Locals report that extra security personnel have been deployed at checkpoints around Ngaba town and that people are being searched.
Reporting from Ngaba, a British journalist who was recently able to sneak into the ‘cut-off’ area, reported that being in Ngaba reminded him of the conflict zones in Iraq and Northern Ireland at the height of their trouble.
"There are police maybe every 30 or 40 metres and, in some cases, 30 or 40 police sitting together in riot police uniform with shields, with batons and something I'd never seen anywhere else before - some of those batons had spikes coming out of them. It looked totally medieval," the Guardian newspaper journalist reported.
The fiery wave of self-immolations that has gripped Tibet for the last 11 months, has, off late witnessed an alarming increase in the rate at which Tibetans are ready to torch their bodies. Just in the last 13 days, six Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Since Tapey’s self-immolation in 2009, 23 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze.
The Tibetan leadership in exile and rights groups have expressed fear of more self-immolations and bloodshed as many parts of Tibet continue to remain under an undeclared martial law with Chinese security personnel gunning down unarmed Tibetan protesters in recent weeks.