Tibetan man sets fire to himself beside shrine with religious offerings (Updated)

Neykyab

Neykyab, who self-immolated on April 15.

Neykyab

Image of the pictures and offerings left by Neykyab at the scene of his self-immolation.

Updated April 17 2015: According to new information received from Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala, Neykyab (also known as Damkar) was a former monk from the Soruma nomadic area in Ngaba who later married Tsaypay. The couple had seven children, ranging in age from seven to 21.

Although ICT reported earlier that the self-immolation occurred on April 15, it took place on April 16, early in the morning, in the courtyard of his home. Neykyab died, and police came to take away his remains. They also detained his brother Naygang and son-in-law Tsering Samdrup for questioning.

In a statement translated from Tibetan, the exiled Kirti monks said: “He had made a pledge for the sake of world peace and in honour of the Dalai Lama, never to engage in disputes and so forth with anyone, and especially with any other Tibetan, and had won the peace prize jointly awarded by the 42 monasteries of Ngaba. Under the alias Kawa Dondrub, he had frequently spoken in online forums about the importance of unity.”

They also said: “Today shops and restaurants in Ngaba county town are closed in solidarity, and people are consoling his relatives and visiting monasteries to make dedicatory offerings in his name.”

Harrowing images are circulating on Tibetan social media of a Tibetan man who set fire to himself and died in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county in Sichuan on Wednesday (April 15).

The Tibetan man was named by Tibetan sources as Neykyab, believed to be in his forties or fifties. The same sources said that he was the brother-in-law of another Tibetan from Ngaba, Dargye, who set fire to himself in Lhasa on May 27, 2012.[1]

At the site of his self-immolation, near his home in a village in Ngaba county, Neykyab displayed a photo of the Dalai Lama and the Tenth Panchen Lama[2] with offerings of butter-lamps and flowers, as well as a family photograph. An image of the makeshift shrine circulated among Tibetans on social media.

A local source from Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Amdo) told Radio Free Asia: “He was protesting against Chinese policies in Tibet. His body was taken away by police.” Another source told RFA: “He had received [religious] recognition for his vow not to harm others in personal disputes—a vow that he took in honor of all those who have sacrificed themselves in self-immolation protests for the cause of Tibetan freedom” the source said.” (RFA report, April 16, 2015).

Neykyab’s self-immolation occurred just a week after a Tibetan nun in her forties called Yeshi Kandro set fire to herself on April 8 in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), Sichuan.[3] He is the 139th Tibetan to set himself on fire in Tibet since the current wave of self-immolations began in 2009.


Footnotes
[1] ICT report, June 1, 2012, http://www.savetibet.org/detentions-fear-after-lhasa-self-immolations-prayer-gathering-in-dzamthang/

[1] The previous Panchen Lama, who was deeply respected for his deep support for Tibetan religion and culture.

[1] ICT report, April 10, 2015, http://www.savetibet.org/tibetan-nun-sets-fire-to-herself-in-kardze/

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