Protests spread to Lhasa; Two Tibetans set themselves ablaze
From K J M Varma Beijing, May 28 (PTI) A wave of self-immolations in protest against the Chinese government, which rocked regions close to Tibet for several months, has now spread to Lhasa, where two Tibetans for the first time set themselves on fire outside a famous temple leaving one of them dead. Dargye, from Aba county in the Tibetan area of southwest China's Sichuan province, and Tobgye Tseten, from Xiahe county in northwestern Gansu province, attempted self-immolations at Pargor Street, a popular market place in the heart of the Tibetan capital Lhasa yesterday, Tibet's regional committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said today. Police on patrol put out the flames in two minutes and sent the men to hospital. Tobgye Tseten died and Dargye survived with injuries, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Ever since the self-immolations began last year, most of the policemen in Tibet have been provided with small fire extinguishers to douse the flames. As of midnight last night, Dargye's condition was stable and he was able to talk, an official statement said. The incident took place when downtown Lhasa was particularly crowded to celebrate the Saga Dawa to mark the anniversary of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death, the report said. Devotees, who had gathered at the Jokhang Temple, walked clockwise around Pargor Street as part of a Buddhist ritual. These were the first cases of self-immolation in the Tibetan capital and the second case in the province. Last year, one self immolation incident was reported from Qumdo. So far, about 35 self-immolation incidents have taken place in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces over the past year, besides one in New Delhi during the visit of President Hu Jintao. The protesters have been calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland and lifting of security controls put up by China.