A Tibetan man screams as he runs engulfed in flames after self-immolating at a protest in New Delhi, India, ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the country Monday, March 26, 2012. The Tibetan activist lit himself on fire at the gathering and was rushed to hospital with unknown injuries, reports said. - AP Photo

NEW DELHI: A Tibetan exile lit himself on fire at a demonstration Monday in the Indian capital ahead of a visit by China's president, the latest in a dramatic string of often deadly protests against Beijing's rule of the Himalayan region.

The protester was engulfed in flames as he ran near the speakers at the rally near the Indian Parliament. Fellow activists beat out the flames with Tibetan flags they were carrying, while others poured water on him.

The protester, identified as Jampa Yeshi, was being treated for severe burns at a New Delhi hospital, a Tibetan organizer said.

At least 30 people in Tibetan areas of China have set themselves on fire over the past year to protest Beijing's rule over their homeland. The Dalai Lama has blamed China's ''ruthless policy'' for the self-immolations, while China accuses the Dalai Lama of stirring up trouble.

China says Tibet has always been part of its territory. Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries.

Monday's was the second self-immolation in India in recent months. Last year, a young Tibetan exile set himself on fire outside the Chinese Embassy. That man suffered minor burns.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to arrive in India later this week for a summit meeting.

More than 600 protesters, carrying banners and posters marched across New Delhi to a central plaza near the Indian Parliament to protest the visit. Some carried posters saying ''Tibet is burning'' and ''Tibet is not part of China.''

At the protest venue a big poster with Hu's face with a bloody palm print on it said: ''Hu Jin Tao is unwelcome'' at the summit.

As speakers addressed the crowd, Yeshi set himself ablaze and ran across the venue. He ran nearly 50 meters before he collapsed.

Protesters initially prevented police from taking the man to the hospital, but policemen eventually forcibly took him away.

''This is what China faces unless they give freedom to Tibet,'' said Tenzin Dorjee, a young onlooker.

Yeshi sustained burns on 85 per cent of his body and his condition was critical, a senior police officer said. He was speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Yeshi, 26, escaped from Tibet five years ago and had been living in a Tibetan neighborhood in Delhi, the officer said.

Hu will be attending a meeting March 28-29 of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, who form a grouping known as BRICS.

Police in New Delhi are bracing themselves for renewed protests during the meeting by Tibetan exiles who live in India. Security around the hotel where the meeting is to take place has been tightened, and roads leading to the hotel will be closed to the public a day ahead of the meeting.

Opinion

Long arm of Big Tech
20 Jan 2021

Long arm of Big Tech

How many people would still be alive if Twitter and Facebook had denied Trump a platform to spread lies about Covid-19 a year ago?
Words, words, words
19 Jan 2021

Words, words, words

There was little in terms of contributions in our own language as we wrestled with the pandemic.

Editorial

Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...
Updated 19 Jan 2021

LNG contracts

It is important for industry to reconnect with the national grid and for gas to be allocated for more efficient uses.
19 Jan 2021

Murdered judges

THE continuous violence in Afghanistan has raised serious questions about the sustainability of the peace process, ...
19 Jan 2021

K2 feat

A TEAM of 10 Nepalese mountaineers made history over the weekend as they scaled the world’s second highest peak K2...