Chinese military personnel patrolling from a roof top in Lhasa, Tibet. (Phayul Photo/Bill Crozier)
DHARAMSHALA, May 31: In reports coming out of Tibet, Lhasa is currently reeling under a heavy security lockdown following Sunday’s twin self-immolations.
Although information coming out of Lhasa is scarce, hundreds of Tibetans are believed to have been detained, including many who had witnessed the self-immolations in front of the Jokhang temple, in the heart of the city.
“Following the twin-self-immolations on Sunday, the security chief in Lhasa has ordered greater surveillance and a complete lockdown of the Tibetan areas in Lhasa,” Jamphel Monlum, the assistant director of the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
“Although we are unable to tell exact number of Tibetans arrested following the fiery protests but we have been told that at least a few hundreds have been picked up,” Monlam added.
Other sources have told Phayul that Chinese security personnel confiscated mobile phones and cameras of many Tibetans who were present at the site of the self-immolations.
“Following the self-immolations, Chinese security personnel, who are usually present in large numbers around the Jokhang temple, confiscated all mobile phones and cameras of people present there,” Ngawang Woebar, a former political prisoner said.
“As the entire area around the temple is under constant CCTV surveillance, the Chinese security personnel could easily use the footages to trace down and arrest many people.”
According to TCHRD, Chinese security agencies in Lhasa have also begun a drive of expelling Tibetans who are not residents of the so called Tibetan Autonomous Region.
In the ongoing month of Saka Dawa, Lhasa generally witnesses a large number of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims who travel to the city to perform prayers.
Dorjee Tseten, 19, a native of Bora, Labrang Tashi Khyil in Amdo, eastern Tibet along with his friend, an unidentified Tibetan from Ngaba, set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang temple, one of the holiest shrines in Tibet.
Dorjee Tseten passed away while there is no information on the well-being and whereabouts of the other Tibetan.
Days after the self-immolations in Lhasa, Rikyo, a mother of three, set herself on fire in Zamthang, eastern Tibet, yesterday. She passed away at the site of her protest.
Since 2009, thirty eight Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.