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India-educated Tibetan held for inciting self-immolations

Thursday, 24 January 2013 - 9:53pm IST | Place: Beijing | Agency: PTI

Phagpa studied in India at an institution established by the 'Dalai Lama clique' for 'training separatists' in June 2005.

Chinese police have arrested a Tibetan, who studied in India, accusing him of being a member of the 'Dalai Lama clique' and instigating a monk to commit self-immolation. Police in Tongren county in Qinghai province near Tibet said they thwarted a self-immolation attempt in November last year by 25-year-old monk Drolma Je after being told that the man had stored gasoline in a hotel room.

State-run Xinhua news agency quoted a police report as saying that a probe into Drolma Je's case led to the arrest of Phagpa, a 27-year-old man who allegedly encouraged Drolma Je to commit self-immolation. It said Phagpa studied in India at an institution established by the 'Dalai Lama clique' for 'training separatists' in June 2005.

The report said Phagpa had maintained close contact with key members of the Tibetan Youth Congress of the Dalai Lama "clique", exchanging information with and taking orders from them via the Internet. After returning to China in September 2011, he worked to spread pro-independence ideas among local students while working as a teacher at an orphanage and opening computer and English training courses, the report said.

The report also cited Drolma Je's confession, saying that Phagpa made several attempts to convince Drolma Je to self-immolate between June and July 2012, assuring him that photos of the self-immolator would be spread globally by organisations in India. "He claimed that 'the international community will pay attention if more people commit self-immolation,'" the report said, citing Drolma Je.

Phagpa is also accused of being a member of the illegal "Snow Tradition Cultural Service Group". He and other members of the group have attended funerals of previous self-immolators, praising them as role models and donating money to their relatives.

Police have arrested Phagpa on a charge of intentional homicide and Drolma Je on a charge of jeopardising public security. Multiple Tibetan self-immolations have occurred in west China's Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan provinces in recent months.

The Chinese government has accused the Dalai Lama group of inciting and supporting such acts. So far, three others have been arrested for inciting immolations.

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