The two individuals claiming to be reincarnated spiritual leaders (trulkus) in Trashigang had collected money through a WeChat group, home minister Dawa Gyaltshen said.

After the meet the press session yesterday, lyonpo told Kuensel that this was based on the report that the team, which the home ministry sent to verify the claims, had submitted. “I received the report from the team a few days back. The team stayed in the field for about three weeks.”

The team comprising of officials from department of culture, department of law and order, and the local government had gone on a fact finding mission after Trashigang dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) in August wrote to the home ministry and culture department, seeking intervention to authenticate the legitimacy of two individuals, Karsang and Yeshi Dorji of the Drukyul karzay tshethar tshogpa.

Local leaders accused Karsang and Yeshi Dorji (also known as Sangay Wangdi) of forming a group on WeChat, and allegedly performing religious ceremonies and blessings.

Lyonpo said the ministry would further discuss the issue with information and communications ministry (MoIC), Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), department of culture and the Zhung Dratshang.

He said the ministry would discuss the rules governing use of social media with MoIC and BICMA, and with Zhung Dratshang on whether to forward the case to the trulku ngedzin tshogpa (committee to recognise trulku) for authentication. “We will see what needs to be done after discussing the issue with the agencies concerned.”

According to the resolution of the 83rd session of the National Assembly in June 2005, it is mandatory for trulkus to be recognised by the trulku ngedzin tshogpa. The Assembly had resolved that the trulku ngedzin tshogpa should be established to formalise the recognition of trulkus and lams.

The committee drew 14-point rules of procedure for the recognition of trulkus and lams in September 2005, which includes the traditional practice of recognition by the trulku of the biographical sketch and details of his past life.

Choedhey Lhentshog refers to a religious person as a lam or trulku only if their census records and an acknowledgement letter from the trulku ngedzin tshogpa support it.

Karma Cheki