DHARAMSALA, December 19 - One of the three Tibetan monks from Driru County arrested on Nov. 23 from Lhasa has been tortured to death in police custody and his body handed over to his family on December 17, a Tibetan right group said today.
According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Ngawang Jamyang, 45; died in police custody less than a month after his arrest along with fellow monks Kalsang Choklang and another monk on 23 Nov. this year in Lhasa where the three had gone for annual vacation. The whereabouts and conditions of the other two monks remain unknown, the right group said.
“It was clear that Ngawang Jamyang was beaten to death while in secret detention. He was a healthy, robust man when he left his monastery to visit Lhasa," the TCHRD quoted its source as saying.
Ngawang is the latest in the list of well-informed and educated Tibetans being targeted by Chinese authorities, the TCHRD believes. It also said that Ngawang has been on Chinese authorities' target since the nationwide protests in 2008 when Ngawang was arrested and jailed for two years for his alleged connection with the "exile separatist forces."
Family members cremated Ngawang's body at a crematorium near Sera Monastery in Lhasa. Prayers and other post death rituals are being conducted at the deceased’s home in Driru County.
The TCHRD further noted that the police have threatened the deceased’s family against speaking about Ngawang’s death to others, especially "exile separatist forces".
Armed Chinese police and security personnel arrived last month at Tarmoe monastery where only a few monks and the monastery's temple caretaker were present. The police asked where the rest of the monks had gone and demanded keys to the locked rooms of the monks who were on vacation. The monks told the police they did not have the keys. Armed police immediately surrounded the monastery, and broke into the rooms ransacking them, and took away several personal belongings including laptops, cellphones, CDs, and other items. The police seized two laptops from Ngawang's room, said the source.
Ngawang Jamyang born in 1968 in Totho Village in Driru County. In 1987, he became a monk at Tarmoe Monastery in his hometown. Two years later, he left for India to pursue further studies at Sera Je Monastery in south India. In 2007, he returned to his native town after 19 years of vigorous study of both Buddhism and modern sciences.
After completing his two year prison term in 2010, he worked for sometime as a teacher of Buddhist debate at Choeling Monastery. He also started debate classes for both monk and lay communities at Tarmoe monastery which now remains closed due to the crackdown since 23 November 2013. The TCHRD said he was well respected by the local community for his numerous social welfare activities such as helping to peacefully mediate disputes and helping local Tibetans to shun harmful habits such as gambling.
Ngawang's death came as a huge shock to the residents of Driru, especially the monks of Tarmoe monastery. “He [Ngawang Jamyang] was the most efficient administrator, teacher and a very conscientious person. Tarmoe would never be the same again without him,” TCHRD quoted its source.
Chinese government considers Driru as one of the most restive regions brewing anti China sentiments and activities in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the source said. "They fear that instability in Diru could cause ripple effect in other areas in the TAR. Therefore, they have been engaged in forcing Tibetans in Driru to rigorous 'Thought Education Campaign' since September."