DHARAMSHALA (June 20, 2012) — In reports coming out of Tibet, two young Tibetans set themselves on fire on Wednesday in Zatoe town of Keygudo, Kham, eastern Tibet calling for Tibet’s independence and long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Ngawang Norphel, 22 and Tenzin Khedup, 24, set themselves ablaze at about 3.30 pm (local time). Both of them were carrying Tibetan national flags in their hands at the time of their self-immolation protest.
Tenzin Khedup passed away in his fiery protest while the condition and whereabouts of Ngawang Norphel is not yet known.
Confirming the reports, Jamyang Soepa, a member of the standing committee of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said that the two young Tibetans set themselves ablaze calling for Tibet’ independence.
“Ngawang Norphel and Tenzin Khedup called for independence and freedom in Tibet and the long-life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama before setting themselves on fire,” Soepa said citing sources.
In images received by exile Tibetans, huge flames and black smoke could be seen bellowing up from their bodies, lying on the road next to parked cars and motorbikes.
In a 7-second video clip of their self-immolation protest, Ngawang Norphel and Tenzin Khedup could be seen standing next to each other and raising the ‘banned in Tibet’ Tibetan National just before fire envelopes their bodies. While one of them immediately falls down on the ground, the second self-immolator trips and then stands up to run for a few metres before falling down.
According to reports, Tenzin Khedup is from Tridu in Keygudo. His parents are Legdup and Kyizom. Ngawang Norphel is believed to be from Ngaba, the region which remains the nerve centre of the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.
Earlier this year, on February 8, Sonam Rabyang, a monk in his late thirties from the La Monastery in Tridu, set himself ablaze on the main road of La Township, Tridu County, Keygudo. Sonam Rabyang’s condition and whereabouts remain unknown.
With Tenzin Khedup and Ngawang Norphel’s self-immolation protests today, as many as 42 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet. www.rtycminnesota.org