Almost a week after a two-storey traditional house was razed to the ground in Phajo Goenpa village of Lauri gewog, Samdrupjongkhar, police in Jomotsangkha are investigating a suspected arson case.

The house owner, Tsampa Ngawang Sherab, 61, claimed that he suspects arson because no one was at home when the incident occurred and his family ensured that all lights were properly put out. “We didn’t even leave lit butter lamps.”

The family was at Lazor Goenpa, which is about four hours walk away from the village to prepare for tshogkhor (Offering ceremony) and Nyungney (Fasting) since July 22.

Tsampa Ngawang Sherab said the people of Khashateng village informed him about the fire incident around 11pm.

He said he lost all his belongings including one silver hat, a kg of silver, religious items and more than Nu 100,000 in the fire.

Jomotshangkha police officials said they went to the scene and while investigating found Nu 100, which was partially burnt, and a lamp outside the house.

Police said they also found footprints.

Tshampa Ngawang said there was no way of finding cash and lamp outside the house because he kept all his cash in a box and a lamp in the kitchen. “I suspect someone entered my house and had set the fire after taking the cash,” he said. “I cannot do anything since nobody saw anyone.”

He said he also found a bottle that reeked of petrol below the house and it was reported to the gup. “I hope the police would investigate and arrest the suspects. If we did not go to the goenpa, we would have also been burnt.”

The owner said that his family got mattress, blankets and utensil but it would help if the concern authorities provide them with a tarpaulin sheet. The family lives in the village lhakhang today.

Meanwhile, police officials said they also suspect arson but it is too early comment.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar