Tibetan who self-immolated in Ngaba was 19-year old former monk

It is now known that the Tibetan who ICT reported set fire to himself in Ngaba was a 19-year old former Kirti monk named Rinzin Dorje, according to Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala, India. (ICT report, Tibetan man self-immolates today in Ngaba – 8 February 2012). He is believed to have been alive after his self-immolation, although “on the verge of death,” according to the same sources. He was taken away by police and soldiers, first to the Ngaba county hospital, and then to hospital in Barkham (Chinese: Maerkang), the capital of Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. It is not known whether Rinzin Dorje is still alive.

Rinzin Dorje, from a nomadic area of Me’urama township in Ngaba county, had been a monk from a young age but left the monastery in 2010 and had been living since then with his family. The youngest of six children, Rinzin used to enjoy looking after the birds that lived around the monastery. One of his relatives, now living in India, said: “He was a humble and kind person, and a hard and persistent worker.”

According to new information from the same sources in exile in India, on Sunday (February 5), monks of the Se monastery near Ngaba county town led a candlelit protest march towards the town. They were stopped by security forces before reaching the county town, but managed to walk in procession around the monastery. No further information is known about whether any were detained, but security at the monastery has been tightened further.

Security was generally increased in Ngaba over the period of the Great Prayer Festival or Monlam Chenmo at Kirti monastery from January 25 to February 8. According to Kirti monks in Dharamsala, India, “Around 400 police disguised as government officials were staying in the monastery for the duration. Ngaba people were searched, questioned and harassed wherever they went or wherever they stayed. From the early morning of February 8, people were being stopped, searched and questioned one by one as they traveled into Ngaba county town and in the town itself, and the streets were filled with army, police and special police.”

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