Self-immolations of a Tibetan forest guard and mother of four in eastern Tibet

Human remains and burned wood

Human remains and burned wood are visible following the self-immolation of Lhamo Kyab.

Kalkyi

Kalkyi

A Tibetan forest guard set fire to himself and died yesterday (March 25) in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe), Gannan. His self-immolation followed the death of a 30-year old mother of four, Kalkyi, who set herself on fire the day before (March 24) near a monastery in Dzamthang, Ngaba (Chinese: Aba).

In contrast to other self-immolators, Lhamo Kyab, a Tibetan man in his early forties, appears to have set fire to himself by pouring petrol over a pile of logs, setting them alight and placing himself amidst the flames, according to Tibetan sources in exile. He died in a rural area near his home in Meshul township, Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe), Gannan in Gansu Province. An image received from Tibet depicts what can barely be discerned as human remains on bare earth, near a pile of wood, with denuded steep hillsides beyond. By the time he was found little remained of his body.

A day before, a 30-year old Tibetan woman called Kalkyi set fire to herself close to Jonang Gonchen monastery in Dzamthang (Chinese: Rangtang), Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Amdo). Kalkyi died immediately afterwards, according to Tibetan exile sources, and local people took her body to the monastery for prayers.

The same Tibetan sources said that local officials ordered cremation of the body the same day, but it is not known whether the authorities took Kalkyi’s body away from the monastery or not. A large crowd of local Tibetans gathered at her house to pray for her.

Four earlier self-immolations in Dzamthang were followed by outpourings of grief and expressions of solidarity by local people. In May, 2012, when Tibetan mother of three Rikyo set fire to herself and died near the same monastery as Kalkyi, hundreds of local people gathered on a hillside in a thunderstorm to pray for her and offer their respects.

Kalkyi was a nomad who was from a family in Barwa township, Dzamthang. She leaves her husband and four children under 15, three boys and a girl.

The self-immolations of Kalkyi and Lhamo Kyab are the 110th and 111th by Tibetans in the PRC since February, 2009.

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