DHARAMSHALA, August 14: Latest reports coming out from the beleaguered Ngaba region of eastern Tibet confirm that Lungtok, the Tibetan monk who self-immolated yesterday, has succumbed to his burn injuries.
Lungtok, a monk at the besieged Kirti Monastery and his former classmate, Tashi, now a layman, both in their early 20s, set themselves on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet yesterday at around 6:50 pm (local time).
According to the exile base of Kirit Monastery in Dharamshala, Lungtok and Tashi set themselves on fire near the Kirti Monastery and began walking on the main road in Ngaba, now referred to as the ‘Martyr’s Street’ in honour of the number of self-immolations that have been carried out there.
“Lungtok, with his body enveloped in flames, marched down the Martyr’s Street raising slogans but was overpowered by Chinese security personnel before he could reach the crossroad,” Kirti Monastery said in a release today. “Eyewitnesses have said that Lungtok was alive when he was forcibly removed from the scene.”
“Tashi was marching on the Martyr’s Street raising slogans when a number of Chinese security personnel surrounded him and started beating him,” the release said. “He was bundled in a vehicle and taken away.”
According to eyewitnesses, both the self-immolators had minimal chances of survival, as their bodies were severely burned.
Lungtok and Tashi were first taken to the local hospital in Ngaba after which they were shifted to the nearby region of Barkham.
“Lungtok passed away in Barkham and it is not yet known whether his body has been handed over to his family for cremation,” the release said.
In the morning of August 13, the day of his self-immolation protest, Lungtok had made individual offerings to his monk colleagues, requesting prayers for Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet.
“During the morning prayers, Lungtok offered one Chinese yuan each to the monks at his monastery and requested them to offer prayers for all the martyrs of Tibet,” Kirti Monastery said.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration in a release today confirmed earlier reports of a Tibetan protestor being beaten to death for taking part in demonstrations that followed the self-immolation protests.
“Immediately after the incident, a large number of police were deployed at the site after local Tibetans raised slogans in protest,” CTA said in its release. “The police beat the Tibetans with spiked batons, leaving one Tibetan dead with his entire head covered with blood, and many severely injured.”
Latest reports from the region attest to heightening tensions and a large scale deployment of armed forces throughout the Ngaba region.
The exile Tibetan administration “strongly condemned” the use of force by the Chinese authorities in dealing with the peaceful Tibetan protestors, urging “utmost restraint.”
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 50 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.