DHARAMSHALA, November 24: Jadrel Jampa Trinley Rinpoche, the former Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo monastery and the leader of the search party for the 11th Panchen Lama is feared dead.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has cited a “close associate” of Jadrel Rinpoche (also written as Chadrel Rinpoche) in Tibet as source of the report.
The CTA has quoted an audio message by the unnamed Tibetan official at the Bhoejong Nangten Thuntsok (Tibetan Buddhism Association) as saying that “Jadrel Rinpoche is dead”.
“Some say that Jadrel Rinpoche was poisoned to death,” the report further quoted the audio message as saying.
Jadrel Rinpoche was appointed head of the Search Party Committee to identify the XIth Panchen Lama by Beijing but was later arrested on May 17, 1995 after Chinese officials discovered that he had communicated his finding to the Dalai Lama and sought his advice.
Days before Jadrel Rinpoche’s arrest, on May 14, 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had announced Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the XIth Panchen Lama.
Jadrel Rinpoche was sentenced on April 21, 1997 by the Intermediate Court of Shigatse Prefecture to six years’ imprisonment and three years’ deprivation of political rights on charges of “colluding with separatist forces abroad” during his search for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama and “revealing state secrets”.
Although Jadrel Rinpoche’s six year prison term expired on May 16, 2001 he was held under house arrest in Shigatse in an extended form of detention.
Another member of the search party, Jampa Chungla, who was arrested along with Jadrel Rinpoche had passed away in November 2010.
In 1996, a Chinese court in Shigatse sentenced Jampa Chungla to five years in jail with forced deprivation of political rights on alleged charges of leaking state secrets. Following his prison term, Jampa Chungla was held under heightened restriction at a military base in Lhasa.
Jampa Chungla succumbed to his illness on November 13, 2010, after being repeatedly denied medical assistance during his long period of incarceration and house arrest.