Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim in a photo taken in 2009. (Photo/Kirti Monastery)
DHARAMSHALA, August 8: Lobsang Tsultrim, the 21-year-old Kirti Monastery monk, who set himself on fire in an apparent protest against China’s occupation of Tibet on August 6, has passed away.
Reports coming out of the region confirm that the young monk breathed his last at around mid-night that very day.
With Lobsang Tsultrim's demise, the death toll in the ongoin wave of self-immolations has reached 37.
In a release, the exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala said Lobsang Tsultrim passed away shortly after arriving at a hospital in the Barkham region of eastern Tibet.
It was earlier reported that Lobsang Tsultrim was bundled in a vehicle from his protest site to a hospital in Ngaba town from where he was whisked away to an undisclosed location.
The Chinese authorities declined requests from family members for the possession over the deceased’s body and instead quickly carried out the cremation.
“Lobsang Tsultrim’s family members requested the Chinese authorities to hand over his body but the request was turned down,” the release said. “Instead the Chinese authorities cremated Lobsang Tsultrim shortly after his death and handed over the ashes to the family members.”
The young monk, who was a victim of Chinese atrocities during the 2008 pan-Tibet uprisings, carried out his fiery protest at around 5.05 pm (local time) Monday.
Enveloped in flames, Lobsang Tsultrim walked down a street near the Kirti Monastery, now renamed as ‘Martyr Street,’ before he was knocked down on the ground by Chinese special armed forces stationed there.
The release noted that Lobsang Tsultrim raised slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the exiled head of the Kirti Monastery, the 11th Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche to Tibet. He also demanded the re-opening of the Kirti Monastic School.
It has also been reported that the young monk, who was classmates with Lobsang Phuntsok, the monk who passed away in his self-immolation protest last year, has left a testament, which is yet to make its way into exile.
A day after his fiery protest, a Tibetan woman, Dolkar Tso passed away in her self-immolation protest near the Tsoe Monastery in Kanlho region of eastern Tibet.
Since 2009, 47 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
The Ngaba region alone has witnessed 29 of those of fiery sacrifices, with monks and former monks of the Kirti Monastery, leading the protests.