Prayer Protest held in solidarity with Larung Gar, condemning the atrocious demolition of the Buddhist Learning Centre.
On 19th October, 2016 under the flagship of five Tibetan NGOs based in Dharamsala, a prayer protest was held in solidarity with the residents of Larung Gar to condemn the repressive Chinese policies in Tibet which are aimed at undermining the important cultural heritage of the land, was actively participated in by ten non-sectarian monasteries around Dharamshala, along with many Tibetans and Tibet sympathisers.
Five Tibetan NGOs, the Guchusum Movement Association of Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, and Students for a Free Tibet (India) organized a joint prayer protest at T.C.V day school. In addition, there were numerous participants in the form of monks and nuns from ten monastic institutions and many Tibetans and Tibet supporters. The protest was also commemorated as International Day of Action by Tibetan NGO’s as well as Tibet support organisations around the globe. The prayer protest was held to condemn the ongoing demolition of Larung Gar Buddhist institution and to stand in solidarity with the residents of the monastic institution.
The event started with an introduction to the issue in Tibetan by the General-Secretary of Tibetan Youth Congress, with a reminder to the Communist regime in Beijing that Tibetans in exile have never forgotten their past and are still standing with their brothers and sisters across the Himalayas. It was followed by the president of Guchusum Movement Association of Tibet, Ms. Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari reiterating that the cultural revolution of the 70’s is still ongoing in Tibet in a major way, and condemned the on-going demolition of Larung Gar institution as such. She also urged the international community to support the truth and condemn the atrocities carried out by the Chinese Communist government against the Tibetans inside Tibet. The event was concluded with a speech in English by the president of Tibetan Women’s Association stating there should be an end to the ‘religious repression’ in Tibet followed by prayers for half an hour led by monks and nuns.
According to the order mandating the demolition of Larung Gar, Chinese government plans to reduce the number of Buddhist laymen, monks and nuns. By end of 2016, it plans to oust 2,200 practitioners. Out of this, 1,029 would be laymen and 1,200 would be monks and nuns, consisting of 600 practitioners from other provinces. The order also plans to remove quarters and cut the number of monks and nuns down to 5,000 by September 30, 2017.
The list of monks and nuns who would be suspended had to be submitted on 15th June, 2016 and the required actions must be taken by 30th October, 2016. The order necessitated that the Academy submit a list of 5,000 monks and nuns who will be allowed to stay back from which the number of individuals belonging to other provinces should not cross 1,000. This project is undertaken by Zhang Ping Sheng, Dan Ni Ke and Cai Ya Fang under the State United Front Work Department, State Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission, State Department of Education, State Public Security Department, State Department of Civil Affairs and County government.
Since 2001, local authorities started to actively engage in expelling monks and nuns from the academy, destroy their quarters and control their religious activities which sparked suicide of peaceful practitioners as a mark of protest and further grief caused by the death of a figure like Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok.