Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, August 28: In confirmed reports coming out of Tibet, two young Tibetans set themselves on fire Monday in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
The two have been identified as Lobsang Kalsang, an 18-year-old monk of the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba eastern Tibet and Damchoe, a former monk at the monastery, aged around 17.
Both of them succumbed to their injuries later in the day.
Damchoe was the younger brother of Tenzin Choedron
, a nun at the Mamae nunnery, the largest nunnery in the Ngaba region, who passed away in her self-immolation protest earlier this year on February 11.
The exile base of the Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, in release said Lobsang Kalsang and Damchoe set themselves on fire at around 8:30 am (local time) near the eastern gate of the Kirti Monastery.
“According to eyewitnesses, the two Tibetan martyrs, engulfed in flames, walked around 20 steps before falling down on the ground,” the release said. “They raised slogans against the Chinese government policies of annihilating the Tibetan race.”
Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene and after dousing the flames, took both of them to the Ngaba hospital, where they were kept for a short period.
Lobsang Kalsang and Damchoe were then taken to the nearby Barkham hospital where they succumbed to their injuries.
It is not yet known whether the bodies have been handed over to the families.
“Following the protest, Lobsang Kalsang’s room-mate at the Kirti Monastery, Lobsang Palden was detained by Chinese security personnel,” the release said.
The wave of self-immolations that began in 2009 has now witnessed 52 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from exile.
US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, during a daily press briefing on Monday, reiterated the US government’s appeal to China to address the legitimate grievances of Tibetans through dialogue.
“Whenever we see these tragic incidents, we again call on China to meet the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people within China to protect their human rights, to protect their way of life, and to work on these issues through dialogue,” Nuland said.