By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetan pilgrim from Gansu surrounded by police at the border with Sichuan. Photo- RFA
DHARAMSHALA, FEB. 13: Tibetan pilgrims from neighboring areas who are converging to attend a sacred religious event at the Kirti monastery in the restive Ngaba region have recently been barred by Chinese officials without providing any explanations.
Tibetans traveling from northwest China’s Gansu province to attend a large religious gathering in neighboring Sichuan are being stopped at the border and told they may not proceed by car, sources cited by Radio Free Asia said.
“The police only said that no vehicles would be allowed to travel across the border. They said that the pilgrims should abandon their cars and that they would only be allowed to journey on by foot. These kinds of selective restrictions have hurt the feelings of the Tibetan pilgrims deeply,” RFA’s anonymous source said.
Kirti monastery located in Ngaba town in Ngaba County, Sichuan Province, is considered the epicenter of self immolation protests with the majority of the self immolators hailing from the same town of Ngaba. The first self immolator, a monk named Tapey was from the same monastery.
Till date, 146 Tibetans have self immolated since 2009. The last case was of a Tibetan man from Gansu on Dec. 8, 2016.