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One more Kirti monk sets self on fire

A 21-year old Kirti monk in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county, Ngaba and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, set himself ablaze on Monday evening.

“Lobsang Tsultrum, 21, set himself on fire, calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile,” Kanyag Tsering, a monk at the Dharamsala-based Kirti monastery, who has close contact with people in Ngaba said in a press release on Tuesday.

Lobsang Tsultrum set himself on fire on the street below the Kirti monastery known as “Martyrs’ Street”, named so after a series of self-immolation protests took place there, Kanyag said.

“Armed Chinese police hiding on the 'Martyr’s Street' immediately extinguished the fire engulfing Lobsang Tsultrum, and took him to the Ngaba district hospital. After briefly keeping him there, Lobsang is said to have been shifted to another location, but as of now his whereabouts remain unknown,” the same source said.

The 21-year old monk had suffered beatings at the hands of the Chinese police during the 2008 uprising that rocked many areas in Tibet, including Ngaba.

“Lobsang is fond of playing basketball and he is a member of a local team,” Kanyag quoted locals as saying.

He is the classmate of monk Phuntsok, who had succumbed to burn injuries in March 2011 after setting himself on fire demanding for 'freedom in Tibet' and 'return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet'.

“If the Chinese government has any respect and concern for Tibetan lives, they must address the underlying problems that cause these self-immolation protests,” said Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of Tibetan Centre for Huamn Rights and Democracy, adding that “violent crackdown and criminalising the acts of self-immolation protests will not serve China's professed aim in establishing 'harmony' and 'stability' in Tibet.”

Ngaba has been the nerve centre of the majority of Tibetan self-immolations, where more than two dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009.

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