Tension escalates in Tibet with 2 self immolations in 2 days | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Tension escalates in Tibet with 2 self immolations in 2 days

chandigarh Updated: Mar 18, 2012 18:42 IST
HT Correspondent

Expressing concern over the reports of looming tensions in Rebgong in north-eastern Tibet, The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has urged the Chinese authorities to end its repressive policies, and address the long-standing grievances of Tibetans through peaceful dialogue.

A stand-off between armed security forces and the local Tibetans occurred during the funeral of a Tibetan farmer who died of self-immolation on Saturday.

According to reports from Tibet, Sonam Dhargyal, a 44-year-old farmer set himself on fire in Rongbo on 17 March in the morning. "He shouted slogans demanding the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet before setting himself on fire," said the CTA official.

"Tibetans who tried to put out the flame said he died on the spot. They said his stomach burst open as he had padded it with cotton tucked in with barbed wire," the official added.

The official stated that, an unprecedented gathering of over 7,000 Tibetans including many from neighbouring areas converged at his funeral in Dolma ground in front of Rongbo monastery.

Convoys of armed police and paramilitary forces arrived at the site, resulting in confrontation with the Tibetans but later security forces withdrew after they were outnumbered by mourners. "Security forces are still present in and around the monastery making the situation tense," he said.

This is the 7th incident of self immolation in the month of March. The total number of self immolations is 30 out of which over 20 have died while the others are in a critical condition.

Earlier Losang Tsultrim, a 20-year-old monk of Kirti monastery, took to the main street of Ngaba town and had set himself on fire on 16 March. "CTA is extremely concerned about well-being of Tibetans in Rebgong in view of further provocative measures from the authorities and security forces," stated Dicki Chhoyang, minister for information and international relations.

"We hope the authorities in Qinghai, with its large Tibetan population, will demonstrate a more peaceful way of responding to these protests than what we have seen so far in Sichuan," she added.