Tibet self-immolation activist in India 'very critical'

Tibetan activists tend to man who set himself alight (out of picture at bottom) in Delhi - 26 March 2012
Image caption Other Tibetan protesters tended to the man (out of picture at bottom) before he was taken to hospital

A Tibetan activist who set himself on fire at a protest in the Indian capital, Delhi, is in a "very critical" condition, his family says.

Jamphel Yeshi, who was severely burnt, was operated upon overnight by doctors.

Mr Yeshi doused himself in fuel then set himself alight during a protest against an upcoming visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao later this week.

He ran among the other protesters before the flames were doused and police took him to hospital.

"His condition is very critical. The doctors had to do an operation to get him breathing," AFP news agency quoted Sonam Wangyal, Mr Yeshi's cousin, as saying.

"No one knew of his plans. He did this act to fight for the rights of all the Tibetans," he said.

The self-immolation took place in the centre of Delhi near the Indian parliament after a march by several hundred Tibetans to protest the forthcoming visit by Hu Jintao to participate in a meeting of Brics (Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa) leaders.

In recent months more than 25 Tibetans in China, many of them monks, have set themselves on fire to protest against Beijing's rule of the region.

China's leaders say the Tibetan areas are an inseparable part of the country.

Most of the self-immolations have taken place in Tibetan parts of Sichuan province.

Associated Press news agency said the self-immolation in Delhi was the second in India recently. Last year a Tibetan exile set himself on fire outside the Chinese embassy, suffering minor burns.

A Tibetan government in exile is located in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala.

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