• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

31 may 2012 002Dharamsala: - The afternoon of May 30 saw the self-immolation of a Tibetan woman, Rikyo, in the Ngaba region of Tibet, which has been the epicenter of the spate of burnings which began in February 2009. By the time the Chinese Police arrived, the fire was too strong to be doused and she immediately passed away.

Local Tibetans took her corpse to Jonang Zamthang Gonchen Monastery in Dzamthang County. Around 1,000 monks from all three houses gathered in the monastery and prayed for the departed soul. Immediately afterwards, the Chinese authorities are reported to have ordered the corpse to be cremated and threatened to take it away.

At around 11pm, the body was taken to a hill near the monastery and cremated there. Monks of Zamthang monastery and local Tibetans - numbering around 5,000 - are said to have gathered for the funeral. Although it started raining heavily, they prayed till 3am.

Rikyo (36), born to Chuglo and Rinlha, was from Tsang village in Zamdang county of Ngaba region. She lived a nomadic life and tended to animals. Local sources recounted that, before her self-immolation, Rikyo prayed and prostrated for a whole day and night, leading them to think that she had planned this in advance.

Rikyo is survived by her husband, Nangthong, and three small children, aged nine, seven and five. Locals described her as a humble and religious person.

This is the third self-immolation in the past week, after two young men set themselves on fire in Tibetan capital Lhasa on May 27. The state media reported that one of them passed away immediately while the other is said to be recuperating in hospital.

Since then, a severe crackdown has been imposed on the city. 80 Tibetans were detained on May 27 and 28 as they were suspected to have documented the burnings on their phones. Radio Free Asia reports that the number of detainees has now increased to around 600 people.