Tibetan self-immolator Phagmo Dhondup in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, May 9: More than two months after Tibetan self-immolator Phagmo Dhondup
set himself on fire, details of a conversation he had with a friend before he set himself on fire, has come out.
According to Kunsang Rinzin, a Tibetan living in south India, Phagmo Dhondup went to a restaurant with a friend before his self-immolation protest and left a message for Tibet’s independence and freedom.
“Till now, over a hundred Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire for freedom. They are the true martyrs of Tibet. If Tibet does not get its freedom and independence, China will annihilate Tibetan culture and tradition,” Phagmo Dhondup had told his friend.
Phagmo Dhondup also expressed sadness over Chinese authorities’ restrictions on studying Tibetan language in his region.
“This year, Chinese authorities have restricted studying Tibetan language in our Tibetan areas in Bayen and all teachers have been expelled from the region. I am really sad now,” Phagmo Dhondup told his friend. “Today on the night of the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year, I will set myself on fire in front of the debating grounds at the Jhakhyung Monastery. Today is Tibetan Independence Day.”
According to the same source, an eyewitness, who confirmed the meeting between Phagmo Dhondup and his friend, recounted details of the self-immolation protest.
“On February 24, at around 7 pm, Phagmo Dhondup bought two bottles of kerosene and some colored papers,” the eyewitness said. “He then drank a bottle and a half of the kerosene and burnt the paper raising slogans, ‘Tibet is independent,’ ‘Freedom in Tibet,’ and ‘May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for thousands of aeons.’”
Later, when Phagmo Dhondup reached the ancient Jhakhyung Monastery in Palung region of Tshoshar, eastern Tibet, he doused himself with the remaining kerosene and set himself on fire.
The monks at the Monastery rushed Phagmo Dhondup to a nearby hospital. After undergoing treatment at a hospital in Siling for over a month, Phagmo Dhondup succumbed
to his injuries on an unknown date.
Phagmo Dhondup was a native of Tsaphuk town in Palung region. He is survived by father Shawo and a sibling.
Since 2009, as many as 117 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire calling for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. 100 Tibetans have passed away in the wave of fiery protests while little is known about the condition of the survivors.