A young Tibetan student in India set himself on fire today in the compound of his university in Varanasi, shouting ‘Victory for Tibet’.
Tenzin Choeying, aged around 20, survived but was badly burnt and is now in hospital, according to Tibetans and other eyewitnesses in Varanasi.
Tenzin Choeying doused himself with kerosene and set fire to himself at around 9 am in the entrance of a residential hall at the Central University for Tibetan Studies today, according to eyewitnesses. Chime Namgyal, president of the Varanasi chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress activist group, who later visited the burned student in a nearby hospital, told Radio Free Asia: “He ran [a short distance] and shouted “Victory to Tibet.”
Chime Namgyal said: “The doctor cannot guarantee his chances for survival, but he is able to speak,” adding that Choeying said he had burned himself because “there are no rights for Tibetans in Tibet.”
Tenzin Choeying studies Sanskrit and his family live in an exile Tibetan settlement in Karnataka.
The first Tibetan self-immolation in the current wave of such protests was in exile – Thubten Ngodrup set fire to himself in Delhi on April 28, 1998, as a hunger strike was being broken up by police. He later died in hospital. On February 27, 2009, Kirti monk Tapey became the first Tibetan in Tibet to set fire to himself in the unprecedented wave of self-immolations across the Tibetan plateau, numbering 150.
Eight Tibetans have set themselves on fire in exile. Schoolboy Dorjee Tsering, died after he set fire to himself in Dehra Dun, India, on February 29, 2016. (https://www.savetibet.org/resources/fact-sheets/self-immolations-by-tibetans/).