Crime: Three choetens, all more than 100 years old were vandalised at Karma Choeling Shedra in Chali, Mongar on August 16.

The shedra lopon, Ugyen Thinley said it had rained heavily on the night of the incident, and all monks had fallen deep asleep. The vandals are also reported to have put off the power’s MCB and kept the dog away from the temple.

The monks found two jangchub choetens and a Mani dangrim choeten vandalised when they came for the morning prayer the next day.

Chali gup Tandin Tshewang said with this incident, the gewog has reported five choeten vandalism cases in two months.

“It seems like there are many people involved in this crime, perpetrated by those who have knowledge about the relics,” he said.

Goenpa chiwog tshogpa Tshendu Gyeltshen said of the 120 choetens in the gewog, more than 44 choetens have been vandalised to date. The community believes that one of the consequences of these crimes is evident in the increasing human-wildlife conflict inflicted to the farmers.

Yesterday, the gewog administration met the tshogpas to discuss about preventing similar incidents. While patrolling might help, gup Tandin Tshewang said farmers have to guard their fields at this time of the year.

Mongar police’s investigation team reached the site and some relics, which were found at the crime scene, were returned to the shedra. The case is still under investigation.

By Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar