New Delhi: Two days
ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India, a Tibetan
protester set himself ablaze at Jantar Mantar Monday during a
demonstration by around 100 Tibetans against Hu's visit.
Jamphel Yeshi, a resident of North Delhi's Majnu Ka Tila, set
himself on fire around 12.40 p.m. at Jantar Mantar as various
speakers were addressing the crowd.
According to eyewitnesses, Yeshi set himself ablaze and ran across
the venue. He ran nearly 50 yards before collapsing. He suffered
90 percent burn injuries and is in critical condition at the Ram
Manohar Lohia hospital, police said.
Protesters initially prevented police from taking the man to
hospital, but policemen eventually took him away forcibly.
"This is what China faces unless they give freedom to Tibet. The
boy who set himself on fire is not known to our organisation but
he took an appreciative step. Some individuals are coming to join
the protest so it is difficult to identify them. The protest will
continue till Thursday," said Dorjee, a Tibetan leader at Jantar
"We are protesting against the human rights violations in Tibet,"
said the protester.
The Tibetans in exile in India are likely to protest till Thursday
against Hu's visit to India, said a Tibetan protester.
Police said they are taking precautions to handle such protests.
"Witnessing Monday's self-immolation attempt, security cordons
have already been placed to ensure that the protests do not get
out of hand," said Sezu P. Kuruvilla, Additional Deputy
Commissioner of Police.
Hu will be arriving in India to attend the fourth BRICS (Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in the capital March
28-29 and also hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan
The attempted self-immolation by Yeshi is one more to a long list
of Tibetan protests in recent months.
At least 30 people in Tibetan areas of China have set themselves
on fire over the past year to protest Beijing's rule over their
homeland. The Dalai Lama has blamed China's "ruthless policy" for
the self-immolations, while China accuses the Dalai Lama of
stirring up trouble.
China says Tibet has always been part of its territory. Tibetans
say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries.
Monday's was the second self-immolation in India in recent months.
Last year, a young Tibetan exile set himself on fire outside the
Chinese embassy. That man suffered minor burns.