Five chorten vandals appeal to High Court

Judiciary: Five lifetime prisoners and one prisoner who was sentenced to four years imprisonment for vandalising chortens have appealed to the High Court stating dissatisfaction on the Mongar court’s judgment that was passed last month.

Of the 10 men who were given lifetime imprisonment, five appealed to the high court on December 16, last year.Kinzang Wangdi, Jigme Yeshi, Tshering Phuntsho, Jigme and Ugyen Tshering are the five appellants.

Mongar court had sentenced a businessman, Kinzang Wangdi, 58, from Shermung gewog, Mongar to life imprisonment. In 2011 and 2012, Kinzang Wangdi had bought a Nangzung from Langa Dorji who had robbed a chorten and was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Kinzang Wangdi had also vandalised the Jangchub chorten of Joi in Chaskhar gewog for which he was sentenced to life.

In 2013, a 32-year-old Jigme Yeshi, from Shershong village, Shermung gewog was a driver accomplice to Langa Dorji and had robbed two chortens. He received life sentence and another 10 years imprisonment for helping Langa Dorji and Tashi to robbed a Jangchub chorten of Mulhung in Shermung gewog.

In 2011, Langa Dorji and another accomplice, Tshering Phuentsho, 29, a businessman had robbed a Jangchub chorten at Chokpa, Ngatshang. Tshering Phuntsho with Tashi and Jigme Dorji had also vandalised the Jangchub chorten of Yurinmuri and Nyegor Batang near Mongar School.

In 2012, Jigme 44, from Chaskhar gewog had bought a cat’s eye (dzee) for Nu 7000 from Langa Dorji, which he sold to another man called Pema Tshering despite knowing that it was robbed from a chorten. Jigme was sentenced to four years for this and then received a life imprisonment for robbing a chorten in Thonangdang, Chaskhar.

Ugyen Tshering, 25, from Wangkhar, Ngatshang gewog accompanied Tashi and vandalised the Jangchub chorten of Karphu in Shermung gewog and the men were given life sentences. In 2008, Langa Dorji, 32, vandalised the chorten of Losumpa in Chaskhar gewog.

In 2012, Langa Dorji and Tashi were sentenced to life for vandalising a chorten of one of the schools in Shermung gewog. According to the verdict, Minjur 58, from Sheryong village, Shermung gewog, had given the information to rob the chorten. Minjur was sentenced to four years.

Of the 35-chorten vandalism cases registered with Mongar district court, 30 were completed with the conviction of 30 men to terms, ranging from three months to life imprisonment.

Mongar police began investigation in July last year and arrested 47 people in connection to the vandalism of more than 48 chortens in different dzongkhags.

By Tashi Phuntsho

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