By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetans gather at the compound of Thangkor Soktsang monastery in Dzoege in an undated photo/RFA
DHARAMSHALA, Oct.25: The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has expressed its concern about the two Tibetan monks of Thangkor Soktsang Monastery in Dzoege County arrested on August 24.
The family members of the two monks remain concerned and clueless about their physical condition and whereabouts since their arrests, the rights group said today.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy believes that the two - Gendun Drakpa, 39, and Lobsang Sherab, aged around 35, - were arrested on the suspicion of sharing information on the protests staged by local Tibetans over the land grab in Thangkor town. “TCHRD fears that the monks are being subjected to ill treatment and torture due to the extrajudicial nature of their detention. It is however not uncommon for Chinese security forces to disappear or detain Tibetans in secret locations without any access to due legal process,” the TCHRD said on its website.
Demanding lawful disclosure of the charges and the condition of the detainees, the rights group asked “the Chinese authorities to disclose information about the monks and allow access to their family members to ascertain their physical and psychological integrity. Chinese authorities must make public the reason for the monks’ detention and cease holding them without charge.”
The Chinese authorities forcefully evicted around 20 families from their land and nomadic grazing tracts in Thangkor Township in Dzoege County in 2010. The houses were demolished under the pretext of an environmental initiative to ‘turn the town green’ by the Chinese authorities. The 20 families were relocated and government assurances of proper compensation are yet to be given even after almost 5 years after the incident.
Repeated appeals since 2014 have failed to break the deadlock over the issue with the authorities threatening the victims of arrest. Resulting protests over the years have led to arrests of many local Tibetans, many of whom were later released after serving time in Chinese prison.
The Thangkor Township and its neighboring areas fall under an ecologically rich and visually stunning belt of land that is home to around 1900 Tibetan households. The revenue under tourism and private sector initiatives has been lucrative with over a million Chinese tourists coming annually to the place making it an area of interest for the Chinese government.