KATHMANDU, Feb 14: A Tibetan youth who attempted to commit ´self-immolation´ in the Bauddha area in Kathmandu on Wednesday is in a "very critical" condition, according to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH).
The unidentified youth, who was severely burnt, has undergone treatment at the ICU at TUTH, Maharajgunj.
According to the TUTH control room, the youth has suffered burns over 95 percent of the body and there is very little chance of his recovery. The TUTH control room said doctors have been trying their best to treat him.
The Baudhha area in Kathmandu remained tense around 8:30 in the morning after the youth identified as a Tibetan exile set him on fire and tried to run around the great Baudhha Stupa. Eyewitness Nishan Tamang, 21, said, “I was cleaning up my handicraft shop and all of sudden a man ran past in a huge fire, spreading his arms wide and briefly uttering ´Dalai Lama´.”
A portrait of boy who self-immolated. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)
But his attempt to hurt himself further was foiled as police were able to extinguish the fire and take him to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Another eyewitness, Goma Budhathoki, 20, said that police extinguished the fire, using clothing and jackets that were hung up in a nearby shop.
“I was very horrified to see a monk engulfed in fire running right in front of me when I was just opening my shop and was busy laying out the handicraft items,” the shopkeeper told Republica.
According to Metropolitan Police Circle, Bauddha, this was the first case of "self-immolation" by a Tibetan in Nepal and it has come just ahead of planned protest rallies in Kathmandu.
Keeping in mind the probability of protests by Tibetans in Kathmandu, police had heightened security, deploying additional forces in and around Bauddha and other areas where Tibetans usually stage their protests.
Police at Bauddha said, “But we had never imagined such an attempt at “self-immolation” in the area.”
According to police spokesperson DIG Keshav Adhikari, no one has contacted the police till Wednesday evening to show concern over the man´s condition. “Police have initiated investigations through different channels and hope to establish his proper identification,” he added.
According to preliminary investigations, police suspect that the young man had come from India. The i-phone he was using in Kathmandu indicated that the SIM card was taken out in the name of one Lama.
Police have made enquiries with three suspicious individuals for possible connections with the man but the latter have claimed that they have never seen him.
According to the Golden Eye Hotel located in the premises of Bauddha Stupa, the young man was very new in the area and no one was able to recognize him.
The Tibetan government in exile, based in the Indian town of Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas, had previously put the number of self-immolations since 2009 at 99, with 83 of them eventually dying.
Tibetans have chosen self-immolations with a view to draw worldwide attention to their cause.