Shak Rongpo monastery in Nagchu, file photo
DHARAMSHALA, August 4: The Chinese authorities in Nagchu County have banned all religious activities at the Shag Rongpo Ganden Dhargyeling monastery and expelled all the monks on July 30, 2013. The situation in Nagchu is tense as the authorities have shut down the monastery and deployed armed security personnel in the monastery campus.
A Tibetan source said the authorities took the decision following an incident that they call 'the 2010 May 20 incident'. The incident refers to the arrest and eventual sentencing of the monastery’s senior figure Lama Dawa to 7 years’ imprisonment for alleged links with the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama regarding the reincarnation of the monastery’s patron Rongpo Choejey on May 20, 2010.
Chinese security personnel in the monastery campus/photo obtained by the source
The ailing Lama Dawa, 78, is currently recieving medical treatment at a hospital in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and has been restricted to have any contact with his monastery. He is being constantly watched upon by the authorities in Lhasa, said the same source.
"Ngawang Gyatso, 75, an elderly monk of the monastery commited suicide following harrasment by the Chinese authorities who forced monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and Rongpo Choejey. Two senior monk administrators of the monastery were arrested and charged with political crimes," said the source.
All religious activities of the monastery including the famous ‘Rongpo Gutor’ have been banned.
Local Tibetans have appealed the Chinese authorities to reopen the monastery and reinstate the monks who have been released from prison. However, the authorities said they will respond in 7 days but nothing has come out as yet.
Some Tibetans have also been involved in arguments with soldiers and officers permanenty stationed at the monastery, the source added.
More than 300 years old Shak Rongpo Dhargyeling monastery was built by Drupthop Lobsang Thinley under instructions from the great fifth Dalai Lama.