DHARAMSALA, Mar 9: In the first self-immolation of the year, a Tibetan mother of three has burned herself to death in protest against the Chinese government in restive Ngaba County in eastern Tibet’s Amdo Province.
According to sources with contacts in the area, Norchuk, a 47-yr-old Tibetan woman hailing from Dhowa Village in Ngaba County’s Trotsek Township set herself on fire in protest against continued Chinese rule in Tibet on the night of Mar 5, following Chotrul Monlam (the Day of Miracles when Lord Buddha defeated six proponents of other doctrines in a display of miracles at Shravasti on the the 15th day of the first month of Tibetan lunar calendar) celebrations and died on the spot.
Her body was cremated early morning by fellow Tibetan villagers before Chinese authorities could get hold of her body. Heavy restrictions have been imposed in the area following the incident.
Norchuk’s self-immolation protest comes amid reports of heightened restrictions and deployment of troops in the Tibetan areas aimed at preventing protests on Mar 10, the 56th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising of 1959, following which the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped into exile in India.
Born to father Tsedak and mother Youdon, Norchuk has left behind three children from her husband Palzel.
Norchuk became the 136th known Tibetan from inside Tibet to have staged self-immolation protest since February 2009.
Separately, on Mar 8, Gedun Phuntsok, an 18-yr-old old monk of Kirti monastery in Ngaba County carried out a lone protest on the main street of Ngaba Township.
Carrying a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama adorned with a yellow khatak(Tibetan ceremonial scarf), Gedun called for the return of His Holiness to Tibet, equality and freedom for Tibetans in Tibet.
Within minutes into his solitary protest, Chinese authorities arrested him and took him away. His current whereabouts and condition remain unknown.
Born to father Tagya and mother Rigo, Gedun hails from Ngaba County’s Cha Township.
In the evening of Mar 8, Tibetans in Dharamsala held a candle light march here in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala to express solidarity with Norchuk and Gedun Phuntsok. The march was jointly organized by Students for a Free Tibet-India, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress and Regional Tibetan Women’s Association.