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Mother of three sets herself on fire in Tibet, dies

world Updated: May 31, 2012 23:33 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A young Tibetan woman died after setting herself afire in western China in the latest incident of pro-democracy protesters self-immolating, a rights group has said.

The latest incident coincided with reports claiming that many Tibetans were detained in Lhasa following the case where two Tibetans self-immolated in front of a famous temple in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) earlier this week.

More than 30 monks and civilians have self-immolated in the last one year.

London-based Free Tibet identified the latest protester as 30-year-old Rechok, mother of three children. The incident took place front of the Jonang Dzamthang monastery in Barma township. “Her body is currently in the monastery and many Tibetans have gathered for her cremation which is expected to be held this evening,” Free Tibet said in a statement.

As journalists are not allowed to travel to TAR without government permission, it is difficult to independently verify reports.

It added, “Four young lay people have now set fire to themselves in Barma in 2012, in protest at China’s occupation of Tibet. In January, state security forces shot dead a young man who, with many fellow townspeople, was trying to prevent a friend of his being arrested.”

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented: “Barma Township is like many other places in Tibet: people from all walks of life are rejecting Chinese rule and going to extraordinary lengths to make their calls for freedom heard.”

Brigden added, “Today’s self-immolation comes only three days after two young Tibetan men set fire to themselves in protest in Tibet’s capital Lhasa many hundreds of miles away. Tibetan calls for freedom continue to spread; the international community must break their silence on Tibet.”

The Chinese government blames the India-based Dalai Lama for fomenting separatism and violence in TAR. Reports said security has been tightened and non-resident Tibetans have been expelled from Lhasa following the two cases of self-immolations.