Four other convicted for chorten vandalism

Crime: Langa Dorji, 32, will have to spend 14 lives in prison. This is the total sentence term the farmer from Zorgyen village in Chaskhar gewog, Mongar, received after the Lhuentse court sentenced him to two-lifetime imprisonment recently.

Langa Dorji was convicted for vandalising 12 chortens in Mongar earlier and the Mongar court had already sentenced him to 12 lifetime imprisonments. The Lhuentse court also sentenced two men to lifetime imprisonment.

However, one of the convicts, Tashi will have to serve 12-lifetime imprisonments as the Mongar court had earlier convicted and sentenced him to 11-lifetime imprisonment. The other, Phuntshola was sentenced to life imprisonment for vandalising a Mani dangrim chorten in Minji gewog in 2011.

The court also sentenced three other men to prison terms ranging from two to nine years in connection with chorten vandalism.

In 2012, Langa Dorji and Tashi robbed a Jangchub chorten in Chabi and Namgay Khangzang chorten in Langa Bi in Tshenkhar gewog in Lhuentse with the help of a taxi driver, Dechen Wangdi and a businessman, Sherab Gyeltshen. The helpers were found guilty of aiding and abetting the crime and they were given nine years each.

In the same year, Langa Dorji vandalised a Jangchub chorten in Boepagang, Tshenkhar gewog. According to the verdict, another man, Samten Wangchuk aided Langa Dorji in robbing the chorten and was sent to two years imprisonment.

Likewise, another man, Rinchen Dorji who gave a lift to Langa Dorji on his bicycle and kept vigil when Langa Dorji was vandalising a Jangchub chorten in Chadi, Lhuentse, was given five years for aiding Langa Dorji.

According to the penal code, a person convicted for vandalising chorten is sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence is proportionate to the number of chortens vandalised, the verdict explained.

Meanwhile, Langa Dorji could receive more life imprisonment as there are pending cases against him in other courts. The Pemagatshel court will pass its verdict on Langa Dorji soon. He was alleged of robbing chortens in Pemagatshel too.

By Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar