A Tibetan monk died minutes after setting himself ablaze near Boudhanath stupa in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu earlier today (0730 hrs local time). The monk has been identified as Karma Nyedon Gyatso. Karma was from Damshung in Tibet and had arrived at the Kathmandu Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre on 30th January 2012.
An eye witness told phayul that the monk, probably in his thirties, was sitting crosslegged when she saw his lap on fire. «I thought he accidentally caught fire while lighting butter lamps. Then I saw him pour a bottle of fluid, petrol maybe, over his head and went up in flames right before my eyes.»
«He was silent as far as I could hear. I began to shout for help. He kneeled over in a crouched position, with a contorted face but he didn’t cry out or scream at all.
«After about two minutes a passerby splashed a bucket of water over the monk and doused the fire. Another guy came with a fire extinguisher. The lama’s robes were completely burned off.»
After 15 minutes the police arrived at the scene following which they took away the body wrapped in a red cloth.
At the moment no details about the monk are available.
This is the second self immolation by a Tibetan this year in Nepal which in recent years has increasingly clamped down on the cultural and political expression of its Tibetan community numbering over 20,000.
The country’s increasing dependence on China for financial aid has come at the cost of the Tibetan refugees’ freedom. Several Tibetans caught trying to escape Tibet through Nepal have been repatriated in recent years.