By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, August 13: At least 10 Tibetans have been severely injured and several others arrested as Chinese police opened fire on protesters demanding release of a local Tibetan village leader in Denma town, Sershul County, Kardze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, on Tuesday.
Over a hundred Tibetans sat outside the local Chinese administrative office in Denma town’s Lochuk area protesting against the arrest of Wangdak, head of Shukpa village in Sershul County, who was taken away by the police around midnight on Monday from his home.
An injured Tibetan shows his wounds to the camera/dhege.org
Sources say that Wangdak’s arrest is connected to an argument with local Chinese officials who reportedly harassed some girl members of a dance troupe, which had been invited to perform at an annual festival. The members of the dance troupe had approached Wangdak who is known among his fellow villagers for helping local residents in various matters.
Tibetans demanding release of Wangdak, head of Shukpa Village/dhege.org
Wangdak had objected recently to the Chinese authorities’ orders to cancel a local horse racing and religious gathering which they said were “illegal”. Wangdak argued that horse racing and offering of incense have been traditional festivals of the Tibetans.
Wangdak's son and brother Sangpo have sustained gunshots, according to the source. The injured, some with serious casualties, are being treated in hospital. Due to restriction placed on communication lines in the area the current conditions of the injured are not known.
The same source added that Shukpa village headed by Wangdak did not participate in a Chinese government - organized festival of cultural performance to express their solidarity with self-immolations a few years ago.