As tension builds up in Tibet’s Ngaba region following Chinese government’s stepping up of force on Ngaba Kirti monastery the exiled religious head of Kirti monasteries in Tibet and India and a highly revered religious figure of Ngaba region, His Eminence the Tenth Kirti Kyabgon or Kirti Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin Jigmey Yeshi Gyatso Pal Sangpo, has urged the Tibetan populace of Ngaba and monks of the monastery to remain calm and peaceful.
Following arguments between local Tibetan civilian population who had gathered in huge numbers at the monastery and armed security forces on Tuesday, two women have been seriously injured due to beatings by security forces, sources told Phayul.
Kirti Rinpoche, who lives here in exile at the Kirti Jhepa monastery, also urged the Chinese authorities and officials of Ngaba Prefecture and Ngaba County to exercise restraint in dealing with the situation. The former minister for religion in the Tibetan government in exile has expressed sadness over the recent developments of events including a death of a Tibetan monk of his monastery on March 17, 2011. Expressing sadness over the situation in his native Ngaba, Kirti Rinpoche assured the Tibetans of his prayers for the dead and injured.
Tension between local Tibetans and Chinese security forces reached a new height on Tuesday as China deployed additional armed security forces in the area.
“High tension has prevailed between local Tibetans and Chinese security forces at the Kirti Monastery which might prompt Chinese security forces to open fire,” the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Tuesday.
According to the Centre, the tension in the area rose as local Tibetans gathered around the monastery after seeing large contingent of additional Chinese security forces arrive at the Kirti Monastery around 12 pm (Beijing Time) on Tuesday.
“Upon seeing the vehicles local Tibetans rushed towards the monastery to protect the monks,” the centre said, citing reliable sources in the area.
According to different sources, the Chinese authorities have earlier announced that the monks from the monastery aged between 18 and 40 would be relocated on April 12 to another location for “legal education” and “patriotic re-education”.
The situation around Kirti Monastery, one of the most prominent monasteries in Ngaba region, has remained tense following the death of a Tibetan monk Phuntsok, who set himself ablaze in protest on March 16 – marking 3 years since Chinese armed forces cracked down heavily on Tibetan protesters in the region in 2008.
Following the incident, China stepped up security in the region and its security forces cordoned off the Kirti Monastery, putting some 2500 monks of the monastery at the risk of starvation, TCHRD had said earlier on Monday.
“The locals suspected that the police vehicles have arrived at the monastery to transport the monks. They blocked the forces from entering the monastery which broke into heated tension between the locals and armed police,” the centre said.
TCHRD, however, did not specify how many people actually stood in standoff with Chinese security forces on Tuesday. Sources here having contacts in the region say as many as 2000 to 3000 people gathered around Kirti Monastery.
The police started to brutally beat some of the Tibetans and let loose police dogs upon the crowd, TCHRD said.
The centre further said the monks of the monastery held inside the monastic compound were barred from going out.
To avoid further escalation of tension, senior monks in the monastery management came out to diffuse the situation by persuading the crowd to maintain calm, the centre said.
“Although tension was temporarily defused, additional Tibetans arrived to join the crowd. The local Tibetans have now blocked all the roads leading out of Ngaba County and maintain vigil,” the Tibetan rights group said.
According to the centre, 33 known Tibetans have been arbitrarily arrested so far.
Meanwhile, five major Non Governmental Organizations based here Thursday condemned in “strongest terms” what they called “serious violation of basic human rights” of Tibetans of Ngaba region.
At a press conference held here, the NGOs, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, GuChuSum movement of Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet-India, feared that the tension build up in Ngaba Kirti monastery in particular and Ngaba region in general could provide an excuse for the Chinese armed forces to crackdown heavily on the Tibetans. They urged the international community to pay heed to the growing tension in Ngaba and take necessary actions including urging the Chinese government to exercise restraint.