Uncle claims nephew died of motorbike fire, not self immolation
Phayul[Tuesday, December 11, 2018 20:00]
By Tenzin Sangmo

screenshot from the video
screenshot from the video
DHARAMSHALA, DEC. 9: A video claiming to be that of an uncle of a Tibetan youth who died reportedly by setting himself ablaze on November 4 has surfaced, indicating that the youth, Dhorbe, died of burns caused by motorbike accident, and not by self immolation.

However, the authenticity of the claims made by the man, Jampal Drakpa, could not be independently verified. The date of recording the video, which Phayul received on Dec. 9 is also not known.

The Tibetan youth hailed from the village of Jakorma in the Choejema area of Ngaba County. His father Chopa, and mother Trinle Kyi had passed years ago and was living with his uncle Jampal Drakpa.

In a two-part video, the man seated on a couch claims that Dhorbe, whose death the media reported as the 163rd case of self-immolation was his nephew who he had sent for an errand had died an “accidental death.”

Exile media reported in early November that Dhorbo reportedly self-immolated in the Ngaba County on November 4, 2018, while calling for the long life of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for his return to Tibet.

The man in the video who appears to be in his 50s says the rickety bike that Dhorbo was riding caught fire after a distance of about a kilometer, after which Dhorbo dragged it for some distance.

The man claims that when people found him, Dhorbo wasn’t able to respond to their questions but that he responded when approached by him. “They tried to ask him but he couldn’t answer. People assumed that it was political and a case of self-immolation”, he added.

The man continues, “When I rushed to the scene and asked him, Dhorbo managed to tell me that the bike caught fire. Upon looking around, I found that the bike all incinerated with only the frame left of it.”

Dhorbo subsequently died around 12:00 AM on his way to the district hospital, according to the man.

Chinese authorities’ pressure on his uncle to contradict reports of self immolation can not be immediately ruled out as there have been cases in the past of family members and relatives of self immolators being sentenced or threatened.

The family members of Kalsang Wangdu, 18 year old monk of Retsokha Aryaling Monastery, who set himself ablaze near his monastery in Nyagrong, a town in Eastern Tibet, in March 2016 were pressurized by the Chinese officials to say that Kalsang died in a house fire.

In December 2016, the family members of a Tibetan man named Tashi Rabten who died following a self immolation in Machu were arrested and tortured by Chinese authorities into signing a document accepting that Tashi burned himself due to household problems and not for Tibet.

In March 2013, two monks of Bido Monastery in Kangtsa region of Tsongon, eastern Tibet, Tsundue, 27 and Gedun Tsultrim, in his 30s, were sentenced to three years in prison for organizing prayer meeting for Wangchen Norbu, a Tibetan who died in November 2012 after immolating himself.

In December 2012, the father and grandfather of a Tibetan self-immolator named Gonpo Tsering were arrested by the Chinese authorities who had found out that the two had spoken clandestinely to reporters from the French daily Le Monde.


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