A Tibetan monk, who was recently arrested for abetting self-immolations, has said that he was instigated by two India-based monks who promised him an iPhone, Chinese official media claimed today.
40-year-old Lorang Konchok, the monk from Kirti Monastery in Aba county in Sichuan province bordering Tibet, claimed he was approached by the India-based monks - Samdam and Dorah - after a Tibetan named Tapey committed first self-immolation in 2009. They wanted information to publicise the acts overseas.
"It was then that I got the idea of helping them," the state-run China Daily quoted him as saying.
The monks told me "it would be for causes dear to Tibetan and the Dalai Lama. They told me it is for the Dalai Lama to return to the Tibetan areas but nothing in detail," he said.
"They asked me to pass information about self-immolations to them after the event and Dorah said he would provide me an Apple mobile phone that could send texts in Tibetan so it would be easier for (us) to communicate," he said.
Since then he roped in his nephew to assist him and sent information relating to those who committed self-immolations.
Asked why he did not self-immolate, he replied: "I did not do it because I was afraid. Afraid of death and scared of the pain of burning." He told people that self-immolators are heroes and have high status in Tibetan hearts.
The interview with the imprisoned monk came as China has been accusing the Dalai Lama and his associates of orchestrating the suicides to put China in bad light.
According to Tibetan overseas groups, about 98 Tibetans self-immolated so far in different areas of Tibet and its prefectures.
The monk and his nephew were arrested few weeks ago after which officials in Tibet passed new order saying that abetting, inciting even not intervening to stop self- immolation in Tibet is a crime.
"For the exiled 14th Dalai Lama and his group in India, instigating self-immolation is just means of realising their political goal of splitting Tibet from China," Wang Chengxian, Deputy Communist Party Secretary of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, told the Daily. He said about 80 people committed self-immolations so far.
The report also said a number of Tibetan who sustained burn injuries after failed immolation bid regret their acts and suffer from immense pain and disabilities.