A file photo of Lobsang Tsultrim, 20, who passed away on March 19, 2012, days after his self-immolation protest. (Photo/Kirti monastery)
DHARAMSHALA, March 20: Lobsang Tsultrim, the 20-year-old monk, who self-immolated on March 16, marking a year of fiery protests, passed away in a Chinese hospital yesterday.
According to the exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, local Chinese authorities denied Lobsang Tsultrim’s family the right to perform his last rites and cremated him the same day.
“Only a portion of his ashes was handed over to the family,” Kirti monastery said in a release.
Lobsang Tsultrim’s self-immolation on March 16
came exactly a year after another Kirti monk, Phuntsog set himself on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
Eyewitnesses said that Lobsang Tsultrim, enveloped in flames, marched on the main street in Ngaba town raising slogans.
He was knocked down on the ground by Chinese security personnel and thrown into the back of a vehicle after extinguishing the flames.
Lobsang Tsultrim was seen raising his fist in the air and shouting slogans even as Chinese security personnel had pinned him on the floor of the moving vehicle.
Born to Yeshi and Tsedron, the “bright” student of Kirti Tantric college was the eldest of four siblings.
It has also been learned that Lobsang Tsultrim was a cousin of Norbu Damdul, a former Kirti monk who self-immolated on October 15, 2011 and passed away in a Chinese hospital on January 5, 2012
Norbu Damdul had raised slogans demanding complete independence for Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Kirti monastery in its release said that all Tibetan shops and restaurants in Ngaba town remained closed for three days following Lobsang Tsultrim’s self-immolation, in a strong show of solidarity.
“Also on the 19th, the full assembly of Kirti monks sat through the night doing scriptural recitations,” the release added.
Out of the 30 self-immolations that have taken place inside Tibet since 2009, the Ngaba region alone has witnessed 19 fiery protests.
According to the Central Tibetan Administration, 22 Tibetans have died in the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests, while the condition and whereabouts of four self-immolaters remain “unknown.”
The rest are being described in “serious condition,” having sustained spinal cord injuries and amputation of all limbs.
The Tibetan exile parliament, which is currently in session in Dharamshala, held extensive discussions on the spate of self-immolations and mass protests inside Tibet and passed a unanimous resolution urging the Chinese leadership to immediately end its repressive policies in Tibet and allow an international fact-finding delegation to visit Tibetan areas.