Labrang Tashikhyil monks protest after being stopped from proceeding to Tsoe to pay their last respects to self-immolator Dolkar Tso, August 8, 2012. (Photo/RFA)
DHARAMSHALA, August 9: Around 300 monks sat down on the streets for a prayer protest in eastern Tibet after they were barred by Chinese authorities from paying their last respects to Dolkar Tso, Wednesday afternoon.
Dolkar Tso, mother of a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, set herself on fire near the Tsoe Monastery in Kanlho on August 7. According to exile sources with contacts in the region, Dolkar Tso raised slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and shouted that there was no freedom in Tibet.
She later succumbed to her injuries.
The monks from the nearby Labrang Tashikhyil Monastery were traveling in a large convoy of vehicles to Tsoe when local Chinese authorities apprehended them.
The authorities reportedly told the monks that their actions were illegal and warned that their vehicles will be confiscated if they proceeded further. They were also threatened with further actions.
However, the monks declared that they will walk on foot if necessary and warned of a major uprising if they were stopped.
As tension began to flare, representatives of the Monastery’s administration came and pleaded with the monks to stop their march. Compelled to listen to the requests, the monks instead sat down on the street and started offering prayers for Dolkar Tso.
Latest reports indicate that monks and lay Tibetans from the region have started joining the prayer service in large numbers.
There are also reports of growing tensions in Tsoe after two monks of the Tsoe Monastery were arrested late in the night of Dolkar Tso’s self-immolation protest by Chinese authorities on charges of sheltering her body inside the monastery.
The monks at the Tsoe Monastery had carried Dolkar Tso’s body inside the monastery premises immediately after extinguishing the flames. Later, the monks also helped carry her body back to the village where she was born, Tasur, in Nawu Township, around 10 km from Tsoe.
According to reports, when the fire was put out from her body, Dolkar Tso, barely alive, pleaded with the monks to hit her on the head with a stone and kill her so that she will not fall into Chinese hands alive.
Following the late night arrest of the monks, Chinese security personnel in about a dozen vehicles arrived at the Monastery early Wednesday morning to arrest 17 more monks.
A large number of monks and laymen then gathered at the Monastery to prevent the arrest and also to demand the release of the monks earlier detained.
According to exile sources, the gathered Tibetans have pledged to continue their protest.