Scarce details have emerged on the fate of Tibetans arrested last year in Ngaba, following the fiery wave of self-immolations that continues to engulf the region.
In a release yesterday, the exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, said that a Tibetan native of Ngaba, arrested early last year, was sentenced to three years in jail in January.
Kelsang alias Gonkar, 42, a resident of Ngaba was amongst those arrested in the protests that took place following monk Puntsok’s self-immolation on March 16,, 2011. Kelsang had since been in detention and denied visits by family and relatives.
“It has recently been learned that he was sentenced in secret to 3 years imprisonment on January 8 and taken, without even informing his family members, to a prison in the Mianyang area in Sichuan,” the release said. “His family only found out some days later”.
Since Phuntosk’s self-immolation, 15 more Tibetans have set themselves ablaze demanding the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from exile and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet. Ngaba alone has witnessed 11 such instances.
According to the release, officers from Sichuan provincial State Security Bureau arrested another Kirti monk, Losang Tashi, 26, on charges of “making contacts with foreign countries” in November 2011.
“He is presumed to be in Chengdu, but nothing more is known of his situation,” the release noted.
Facing similar charges, the 26-year-old son (name unknown) of the Bakchungtsang household in Namda village in Rong Kokpo township was arrested in November last.
The entire Ngaba region, especially the Kirti monastery, one of Tibet’s most revered places of learning, have been facing growing restrictions since the 2008 pan-Tibet uprisings.
In April last year, two elderly Tibetans died in the aftermath of beatings by Chinese police as they, along with several other senior citizens, tried to stop Chinese police from taking around 300 monks from the monastery to an undisclosed location.
Since then, scores of Tibetans from the region have either disappeared or given lengthy jail terms in closed trials.