Tibetan father of seven dies after self-immolation protest in restive Ngaba county

DHARAMSALA, Apr 20: Ney Kyab, a 45-yr-old Tibetan father of seven children has died after setting himself on fire on Apr 16 in restive Ngaba County in eastern Tibet.

Before setting himself alight, Ney Kyab, also known as Dhamkar had placed portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama along with photographs of his seven children on a makeshift altar set up outside his house and made decorated them with flowers and religious offerings.

Though the slogans raised by Ney Kyab could not be independently confirmed as he staged his fiery protest in the early hours of Apr 16, several Tibetan media in exile have reported that while he was engulfed in flames, he called for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet and release of the 11th Pachen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima who was abducted as a boy by Chinese authorities few days after he was recognized as the reincarnation of the late 10th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in May 1995. Ney Kyab succumbed to his burn injuries.

An undated photo of Ney Kyab.
An undated photo of Ney Kyab.

Chinese police arrived at the protest site, took his charred body to a nearby police station and refused to return the body to his family members. Police also detained the victim’s brother Ney Gang and brother-in-law Tsering Samdup for further interrogation.

Ney Kyab, a native of Gyadhe Village in Adhue Township in Ngaba County was a former monk of Adhue monastery. Born to father Ney Mo and mother Kardema, Ney Kyab was presented with the Peace Award by an association of 42 monasteries in Ngaba for taking a vow not to indulge in violence and fights with fellow Tibetans, and for promoting world peace and unity among fellow Tibetans. He was known for initiating discussions under the pseudonym Khawai Dhondup on instant messaging application, Wechat on world peace, unity among Tibetans and following the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Ney Kyab became the third Tibetan to have self-immolated in 2015 and the second this month. His self-immolation has pushed the total number of such protests from inside Tibet to 138 since February 2009.

Image of the make shift altar prepared by Ney Kyab before he set himself afire.
Image of the make shift altar prepared by Ney Kyab before he set himself afire.

While requesting Tibetans to refrain from drastic measures, including self-immolation, the Central Tibetan Administration (earlier known as Tibetan Government-in-Exile) based here in Dharamsala has repeatedly urged the Chinese government to address the grievances of the Tibetan people. It said the wave of self-immolation protests by Tibetan inside Tibet was a result of unfavourable and repressive policies carried out in Tibet.

Chinese government, on the other hand maintains that the protests were “instigated” by the Tibetan spiritual leader and his followers in exile.


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