DHARAMSALA, Dec 29: At least three Tibetans sustained gunshot injuries after Chinese forces fired live ammunition into a group of Tibetans trying to stop the body of a Tibetan self-immolator from being taken away.
Kelsang Yeshi, 37 of Nyatso monastery in Tawu County in former Kham Province of Tibet set himself on fire in protest against Chinese government at about 11 am (local time) on Dec 23 in front of the office of Chinese police stationed there to monitor the activities of the monastery.
Chinese police arrived at the protest site shortly and fired into a group of Tibetans who had gathered there to protect Kelsang Yeshi from the authorities, wounding three Tibetans, including a Tibetan monk.
“Chinese police then forcibly took Kelsang Yeshi in a police van to a hospital in the county. Kelsang Yeshi succumbed to his burn injuries in the evening of Dec 23 while he was being taken to neighbouring Dartsedo County,” a Tibetan source with contacts in the region said.
“When Kelsang Yeshi’s family approached the authorities to return his body so that a proper cremation could be given to the deceased according to traditional Tibetan rites, they were told that the monk had already been cremated and his ashes thrown into a river in Dartsedo,” the source added.
“During the self-immolation protest, Kelsang Yeshi was holding a Tibetan nation flag and at his monastic quarter, underneath a huge portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama he had written, ‘The six million Tibetans are waiting for you’ and placed a Tibetan ceremonial scarf (Tib: Khatag),” a Tibetan eye witness told Tibet Express.
Born to father Dorjee and mother Jampa Lhamo, Kelsang Yeshi was a native of Kunor Village in Mazur Township in Tawu County in former Kham Province of Tibet. Earlier, Kelsang Yeshi had studied at Gaden Jangtse monastery in Southern India before returning back to Tibet where he taught basic tenets of Buddhism to local Tibetans in Nyatso monastery. He also taught Tibetan language to poor Tibetan children and elderly Tibetans in the area, and was widely respected among local Tibetans.
Kelsang Yeshi’s self-immolation protest against Chinese government’s rule in Tibet follows two other fiery protests within the same month in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo.
On Dec 16, Sangay Khar, 30 died after setting himself ablaze in front of the Chinese police station in Amchok Township in Sangchu County former Amdo Province of Tibet.
On Dec 22, Tsepe Kyi, a 20-yr-old Tibetan woman set herself on fire at around 2 pm (local time) in Meruma Township in Ngaba County in Amdo and succumbed to her burn injuries within minutes into her fiery protest.