A Tibetan monk called Butuk doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire in the Boudha Stupa area of Kathmandu, Nepal, contributing to a series of self-immolations that began in eastern Tibet. According to Nepalese human rights monitors, this most recent self-immolation took place occurred around 7 a.m. when local Tibetans perform their morning prayers while circulating the stupa. As has been the case in many of the self-immolations in Tibet, Butuk is said to have called out “Stop violence in Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama.” Local people around the stupa who witnessed the incident quickly extinguished the flames, and Butuk is now undergoing medical treatment for his injuries.
The long-staying Tibetan refugee community in Nepal numbers in the tens of thousands and is obviously sympathetic to the oppressive circumstances that have provoked the self-immolations in eastern Tibet. On November 4, a 36-year-old Tibetan set himself ablaze outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi causing alarm that the self-immolations would spread among Tibetan exiles as an expression of solidarity. Tibetan exile leaders have expressed anguish over the self-immolations and on November 9 the Karmapa, an important and influential lama, called on Tibetans to “live long and stay strong.”