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Pema Namgyel Tibet 2017Dharamshala — According to sources in the area, following the March 18th self-immolation in Sichuan province's Kardze county almost two hundred local Tibetans have allegedly been taken in to custody. 

Pema Gyaltsen, a 24 year old farmer, set fire to himself on March 18th calling for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's return and freedom for Tibetans. His condition remains unclear, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

"Pegyal, a former self-immolated and shouted slogans at a road junction in the main market of Karze County, Kham province of eastern Tibet, in an apparent protest against Chinese repressive rule in Tibet. The police reportedly arrived at the scene and immediately took him away, as he was severely burned," a source previously told TPI.

Police reportedly took nearly 200 onlookers in to custody, in an effort to disperse the crowd, a source said, citing contacts in Kardze.

“Nearly 200 Tibetans who attempted to support Gyaltsen in his protest by raising cries in solidarity were taken away,” the source said, adding, “Police also confiscated the mobile phones of many of those who were detained.”

The source refuted earlier reports that Gyaltsen had been taken to a hospital in the provincial capital for treatment.

“His family asked the authorities to allow them to take him to Chengdu, but they refused because of concerns over custody issues,” the source said.

“He was alive on March 19, when he was taken to the hospital in Kardze, but he was reported to be in critical condition,” the source said.

This incident brought the total verified number of self-immolations in Tibet to 147 since February 2009, and of them 116 have reportedly passed away due to their injuries.

The Tibetan self-immolators have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom for the Tibetan people. Most parts of Tibet have suffered severe crackdowns and been under heightened restrictions and controls.


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