Kirti Monastery monk Lobsang Namgyal in an undated photo. He is the 100th known Tibetan to self-immolate under China's rule since 2009 demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.
DHARAMSHALA, February 13: In confirmed reports, a Tibetan monk set himself on fire on February 3 in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Lobsang Namgyal, 37, a monk of the Kirti Monastery has become the 100th known Tibetan to self-immolate under China’s rule since the wave began in 2009.
Following immense security clampdown in the region, the news of Lobsang Namgyal’s fiery protest reached exile on February 13, a day being observed by Tibetan exiles all over the world as the 100th year of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Proclamation of Independence.
According to the exile base of the Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, Lobsang Namgyal set himself ablaze near the local police building in Zoege at around 6 am (local time). He passed away at the scene of his protest.
“Lobsang Namgyal, engulfed in flames, shouted slogans for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he ran towards the local police building,” Kirti Monastery said in a release citing sources in the region.
Lobsang Namgyal’s identity was confirmed after Chinese police found his identity card and a letter from inside a bag near the protest site. The contents of the letter are not yet known.
“Chinese security personnel bundled away his body from the site and carried out his cremation without informing his family members,” Kirti Monastery said. “Only his ashes were handed over.”
In September 2012, Lobsang Namgyal had all of a sudden gone missing for two weeks prompting frantic searches from his family members and friends. It was later found out that he was taken into custody by Chinese security personnel for unknown reasons.
Upon his return, local Chinese authorities made it difficult for him to continue his stay at the Monastery and was forced to live with his relatives in the nomadic pastures. However, Chinese officials followed his movements and continued to harass him, the release noted.
Before carrying out his self-immolation protest, Lobsang Namgyal reportedly came to the Kirti Monastery to offer prayers.
Currently, all movement of his relatives are being closely watched by the police and their phone calls are being monitored, the release added. His younger brother, monk Lobsang Sangay, was also detained for a few days following the protest.
Lobsang Namgyal is survived by his father Karkho and mother Kar Kyi and eight brothers and sisters.
Earlier today, a Tibetan monk in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu set himself on fire protesting China’s rule in Tibet. Clear details about the protest and the identity of the monk are still not available.