Two persons including a monk self-immolated themselves in the Ngaba town in the Sichuan area of China in what seems to be a spurt in cases of ethnic Tibetans setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule.
Five Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the last week, according to a London-based rights group and 48 till March last year.
A former monk, Tashi, 21, and his former classmate, a monk called Lungtok, age 20 set fire to themselves in Ngaba Town on Monday evening, Free Tibet said in a statement.
“Lungtok is reported to have died; Tashi was last seen, with severe injuries, being taken from the county hospital towards Barkham,” it added.
The group added that the two men set themselves on fire inside a prayer-wheel hut near Kirti Monastery in Ngaba Town and then, once they were in flames, came out of the hut and walked towards the street now known as Martyrs’ Street.
The group claimed that security personnel use metal batons spiked with nails to beat Tibetans. Quoting unnamed witnesses, the group claimed: “Enraged at seeing Tashi being beaten, locals began to demonstrate, calling out slogans. Their numbers quickly increased, and more Chinese state security forces arrived at the scene. Eyewitnesses report that some demonstrators were beaten with metal batons spiked with nails and that some people were dragged away.”
A large number of military and paramilitary forces are reported to have been deployed to the town where tensions are escalating. The Chinese government was yet to react to the latest cases of immolations.
The official reaction to a similar incident of self-immolation by a 26-year-old woman and mother of two last week was that it was a result of family problems.
“Drung Gertso, 26, set herself on fire at the Tso Monastery in the city of Tso in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after she refused to return to her husband's home as her parents wanted, according to a written statement issued by the Gannan prefectural committee of the Communist Party of China,” an official statement had said.