From K J M Varma
A Buddhist monk and his nephew stood trial in southwest China's Sichuan Province for allegedly inciting eight people to set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule in the Himalayan region.
Monk Lorang Konchok, 47 and his 31-year-old nephew Lorang Tsering were accused of intentional homicide, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a statement of the Intermediate People's Court of the Tibetan-Qiang.
The two were first to have been arrested for inciting immolations. One more person was arrested recently for the same offence. Three out of the eight people had died due to burns.
The Aba Prefectural People's Procuratorate instituted a public prosecution against the two suspects who are arrested in August last.
Over 95 self immolations have been reported in the recent months which overseas Tibetan groups say were aimed at protesting the Chinese rule and demanding the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Chinese officials allege it is conspiracy by Dalai Lama and his supporters to discredit China.
One more person was arrested recently for inciting people to carry out self immolations.
According to the statement, Lorang Konchok had long-term and close contact with Samtan and other key figures of a media liaison team -- a "Tibet independence" organisation of the Dalai clique.
Instructed by Samtan, the prosecution alleges, Lorang Konchok collected and sent information about self-immolation to overseas contacts after 2009.
Lorang Konchok is suspected of inciting the self-immolations of local Tibetans Tsedrup and Tsenam, who died on March 16 and 28, respectively, in 2012.
It is alleged that on August 9, 2012, when Lorang Tsering noticed that Jokba, 19, a herdsman from Aba, had a desire to self-immolate, Tsering put Jokba in contact with Lorang Konchok and told Konchok about Jokba's intentions.
To strengthen Jokba's desire, according to prosecutors, Lorang Konchok recorded Jokba's information, took pictures for Jokba with his mobile phone and promised to spread news of the self-immolation deeds overseas as well as convey Jokba's last words to family members.
Jokba self-immolated and died the following day.
The two suspects had also encouraged another five people to self-immolate, efforts which eventually failed due to the people giving themselves up or interventions by the police, the statement said.
Prosecutors allege that Lorang Konchok began sending self-immolation information on the three deceased to foreign countries in 2012.