Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim in a photo taken in 2009. (Photo/Kirti Monastery)
DHARAMSHALA, August 7: The Tibetan who self-immolated yesterday in Ngaba, eastern Tibet has been identified as 21-year-old Lobsang Tsultrim, a monk at the Kirti Monastery.
In a release today the exile seat of the Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala said Lobsang Tsultrim set himself on fire at around 5.05 pm (local time) yesterday.
“Lobsang Tsltrim set himself on fire and began running down a street near the Kirti Monastery, now renamed as ‘Martyr Street,’” the release said. “He was knocked down on the ground and the fire extinguished by Chinese special armed forces stationed there.”
With flames leaping out of his body, the young monk was heard raising slogans, but they were inaudible.
According to eyewitnesses, Lobsang Tsultrim was alive when the Chinese special forces took him away.
“Lobsang Tsultrim was bundled away into a vehicle and was first taken to the town hospital where he was kept for nearly half an hour,” the release said. “He was then whisked away to an undisclosed location.”
According to Kirti Monastery, Lobsang Tsultrim joined the monastery at a young age and was classmates with Lobsang Phuntsok, the monk who passed away in his self-immolation protest last year.
During the 2008 Tibetan uprisings, Lobsang Tsultrim was arrested from the monastery and was severely beaten by Chinese security forces.
The Central Tibetan Administration in a release today reiterated its appeal to the Chinese government to “address the underlying causes which are pushing Tibetans to set themselves on fire.”
Since 2009, 46 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.