DHARAMSHALA, August 6: Around twenty military trucks have been seen heading towards Shag Rongpo Ganden Dhargyeling monastery which was shut down by Chinese authorities five days ago, a Tibetan living here with contacts in Nagchu said. The Chinese troops numbering over 300 have been stationed at Shagchuka in tents on Saturday, said the source, adding that Shagchuka is just 15 kilometres from the monastery.
The Chinese authorities in Nagchu County banned all religious activities at the three hundred year old monastery and expelled all the monks on July 30, 2013. The situation in Nagchu has since been tense as authorities deployed armed security personnel in the monastery campus.
In a show of solidarity with the monks of the monastery, around sixty members of the visiting Tibetan dance troupe from Tarchen refused to participate in the annual summer festival organised by the local government of Nagchu. The artistes sought permision from the local government to withdraw from the festival and return to their native town saying it was out of question to take part in festivities and celebrations at a time when the monks of Rongpo Ganden Dhargyeling monastery were being supressed. “Rongpo monastery’s Lamas are not allowed to contact the monastery, monks are expelled, monastery is closed. Horse race and dances are activities of celebration and what has happened at the monastery is not something that we can celebrate.“ the source cited troupe members as telling the authorities.
The authorities told the troupe members that they must perform at the festival and that the decision regarding the monastery and the monks will be taken in a few days’ time. The members of the troupe were warned that they might be implicated in cases of political dissent if they did not perform. However, the troupe members remained defiant and left for their homes.