DHARAMSHALA: A monk of Kirti monastery in Ngaba county in northeastern Tibet set himself on fire yesterday (16 March) in remembrance of those Tibetans killed in the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown in the region on that day in 2008, monks at Kirti monastery in Dharamsala said quoting eye-witnesses in the region.
Phuntsok, aged 21, set himself on fire at the main market near the monastery at around 4 pm (local time) and started raising slogans against the Chinese government. He was immediately beaten by the police, who then doused the fire.
A group of local Tibetans, including monks, snatched the monk from being caught by the police and took him inside the monastery.
Subsequently, over 1,000 Tibetans consisting of monks and laymen took to the street and marched half a mile shouting slogans to express their anger.
A large number of Chinese security forces were called in to disperse the protesters. Electric batons were used indiscriminately to beat the protesters. Many of the protesters were then taken into police custody. Particularly, monks seen on the street are being arrested.
Many of those who escaped arrest have sustained serious injuries.
The security forces have cordoned off the streets in and around the main market place in Ngaba, restricting people not to move out of their homes.
Following this, there are reports of the death of the monk who set himself on fire. Blocking the security forces at the main entrance of the monastery, the Tibetans have pledged not to give up the dead body until the end of their lives.
The monks inside the monastery conducted prayer service for the deceased.
The situation in the region has become extremely tense as the security forces lay siege to the monastery.
It is difficult the ascertain the current situation as our repeated phone calls to the region from Lhasa, Chengdu, Nepal, US and India failed, monks at Kirti monastery in Dharamsala said.