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Indian held in Nepal for recruiting kids for monastery

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 9, 2009

Kathmandu : A 40-year-old Indian has been detained by police for trying to recruit nearly a dozen children from a remote village in northernmost Nepal, touching the border with Tibet.

Lodoe Singhe, who was arrested Monday in Sankhuwasabha district, told police he was a resident of Dehradun city in India’s Uttarakhand state.

Singhe, a lama or Buddhist priest, had been working in the Shakya Monastery in Kalimpong town.

He had visited two remote and underdeveloped villages – Hatiagola and Chepuwa – which have no roads and electricity and require five days walking from the district headquarters.

The villagers are mostly Sherpas, people of Tibetan origin, who are extremely poor and virtually illiterate.

Police said the yellow-robed Singhe had promised the villagers that their children would be educated in the Kalimpong monastery and returned home.

“There were 13 children with him,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Kosh Raj Pokhrel told IANS.

“We found the parents had little knowledge about where the children were being taken or what would happen to them. We also found Singhe did not have any document to prove his claim.”

The police official said Singhe came under suspicion due to his companion, a 17-year-old boy called Yunduk Bhote.

“Three years ago, some children were taken away from Chepuwa village and their parents were told they would receive education in the Shakya Monastery,” Pokhrel said. Yunduk was one of them.

“However, after his return three years later with Singhe, he did not show any sign of having received any education. He can speak a smattering of Hindi and English but he can’t either read or write.”

Both Singhe and the teenager have been kept under police surveillance in Sankhuwasabha.

Nepal’s Maoists allege that followers of exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama are luring away children from Nepal’s northern villages with the promise of educating them in India.

But they are in reality being `brainwashed’ to be the Tibetan leader’s followers, Maoist daily Janadisha said, an allegation that was rejected by the Dalai Lama’s government in exile.

The Indian’s detention comes even as a 42-year-old from India’s Darjeeling town, Biren Pradhan, is under trial in Nepal for the kidnap and brutal murder of an 18-year-old high school student.

Currently, there is mass hysteria in Nepal about child lifters.

On Wednesday, students blocked part of the Araniko highway linking Nepal with China in a violent protest after locals in Thimi town lynched four teenaged students, suspecting them to be child abductors.

Two of the students died in the assault Tuesday while two more have been seriously injured.

Source: IANS


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