DHARAMSHALA, April 6: A senior Tibetan monk is the latest to have been arrested in connection with the January 23 peaceful protests in Drango, eastern Tibet.
Geshe Tenzin Pelsang of Drango Monastery was arrested on April 2 from his monastery in Drango (Ch: Luhou), Kardze on suspicion that he acted as "ringleader" of the protests that left several dead and many injured after Chinese security personnel opened indiscriminate fire on unarmed Tibetans.
Confirming his arrest, the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said no further details were available on Geshe Pelsang’s whereabouts and well being.
Geshe Pelsang, also known as Tengah, was born in 1965 in Norpa village, Drango.
According to TCHRD, as a child, Geshe Pelsang attended the local primary school and learnt Tibetan and Chinese languages. Later he became a monk and studied Tibetan Buddhism at the monastery. After obtaining his Geshe degree, equivalent to doctorate in philosophy, Geshe Pelsang began serving the monastery in various capacities. He was the chanzoe or the administrative staff at Drango Monastery when arrested.
Hundreds of Tibetans had come out on the streets in Drango on January 23, the first day of Chinese new year, calling for Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. Chinese security personnel retaliated by firing indiscriminately at the unarmed demonstrators, killing and injuring scores of people.
Following the protests, Chinese authorities led a large scale manhunt for suspected demonstrators. In one instance, Chinese security personnel shot down and killed two brothers in their hideout in the nearby hills of Drango.
Recently, a Chinese court sentenced seven Tibetans to 10 to 13 years in prison and imposed fines for taking part in the peaceful protests.