People in Khebisa gewog in Dagana have intensified patrolling routine following the rumours of headhunters in the gewog.

The gewog, even before the rumours of headhunters started doing the rounds, have been patrolling every night to protect relics in lhakhangs and choetens in the gewog.

Usually two men would patrol the lhakhangs and choetens areas in the village. Today about 10 men led by chiwog tshogpa patrol the villages from 8:30pm to 4:00am.

Gibsa Tshogpa Ugyen said that in 2015, two men had tried to vandalise a choeten in the chiwog. The duo was caught before they could take anything and were handed over to the police.

“I think it is our responsibility to take care of the important relics in the country,” Ugyen said.

The patrol groups stop people travelling at night through the villages and ask questions.

“We rarely have travellers in gewog, so we ask some questions if there are any travellers. We don’t do any kind of checking,” Ugyen said.

Following rumours of headhunters in the gewog, Khebisa Gup Namgay said that he instructed the tshogpas in his gewog to intensify the patrol routine.

“We don’t know if there are headhunters in reality, but some people might come to vandalise the religious sites in the gewog,” said Namgay. Fear has penetrated deep in the community, he added.

Namgay said that about a week ago four men showed up at an old man’s house asking for help to unload some things from their vehicle.

“The man was alone in the household during the time. The man said that when the four men were denied assistance, they were acting suspicious and didn’t leave the house,” Namgay said.

The men left after some time.

“The tshogpas informed the police during the night and tried to track them,” Namgay said.

In Tshangleykha chiwog in Tseza gewog, Gup Phurba said that a group of people started banging the door of a family at night.

He said that people have been cautioned to avoid travelling at night.

“We have asked people to inform the police or the gewog officials if they came across anything suspicious. And we have asked parents to take better care of their children,” Phurba said.

Phurpa Lhamo