Clashes and Curfews

Dorje Shugden Devotees’ Charitable and Religious Society

Delhi, 17.9.2000

Sera Mey Monastery in Bylakuppe

On Sep. 10, there was an hour-long clash between Tibetan protesters and monks in the Tibetan settlement in Mundgod, Karnataka. The ‘protesters’ numbered about 3000, including nuns, lay people and inmates of the local old peoples’ home. They came at the behest of the local Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and the local Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) who made it mandatory for every Tibetan above school-going age to join in the protest against Shugden worshippers – or be fined a public penalty.

They targeted a two-day prayer conference attended by about 70 delegates of Shugden worshippers from all over India and Nepal. The ‘protesters’ attacked not only the monks participating in the prayer-conference, but also vented their ire at the local policemen and other officers. Many on both sides, and the police, had received serious injuries. The police imposed a 24-hour curfew from 6pm to the evening of the next day. Forseeing more unrest, they extended it for another 24 hours on Sep. 12.

A four-man representative of the Tibetan exile election commission, who had arrived in the settlement on official duty, visited those of the protesters who were in the local Tibetan hospital. They did not call or visit any of the monks who had also received serious injuries and were bed-ridden in their monastery hostel.

On Sep. 12, there was another clash among Tibetans. This took place at the Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement, the largest Tibetan enclave outside of Tibet. Delegates from various local Tibetan monasteries and camps in the settlement had objected to the presence of the United Cholsum Organisation (UCL) from Dharamsala to pitch for elections. Though both the police and the settlement Chairmen ordered them to be out of the settlement by 8am, they evaded the order and stayed on. The entire delegation of the Dorje Shugden devotees from all over India and Nepal, who had a brief reception at the local Pomra Khangtsen monastery on their return from Mundgod, left the place after a brief prayer, as requested by the police.

About 600 Tibetans awaited them at Camp 1. They missed the delegation’s motorcade which left by another route. However, about 20 monks of Pomra Khangtsen, who saw off the delegates up to Priyapatna, were not so fortunate. While returning, they fell into the waiting arms of the mob. In complete defiance of the police intervention, they attacked the monks. There was no compassion. None of the monks was spared. They were beaten without mercy by their fellow Tibetans. All of them received massive injuries. The police imposed section 144 within the Sera Monastic University.

Although the 20 monks were the victims, the police took them into judicial custody. The UCO leaders, who responsible for the clash, and were contravening their expulsion order from the police, were left untouched.


The origin of these two clashes among ordinary Tibetans is the ban imposed by the Dalai Lama on the worship of Dorje Shugden, a Tibetan protector deity worshipped by thousands of prominent Tibetans including Trijang Rinpoche (1901-1982), the Dalai Lama’s junior tutor.


As the ‘well-being of the Dalai Lama and independence of Tibet’ were given as the pretext for imposing it, it got all the major Tibetan organisations (who had till then openly opposed any concession by anyone to China on Tibetan independence) totally involved in enforcing it in every Tibetan community in India, Nepal, Switzerland, and even in Tibet where Tibetans are under Chinese subjugation. Four months later, when the confusion created by this policy completely involved the entire Tibetan exile community, the Dalai Lama announced (July 17, 1996), at a joint address to the British parliament, that he was seeking autonomy under China, as opposed to complete independence from China (which had been the notion given to the Tibetan public till then).


Both the religious ban and the method adopted to enforce it have created results tantamount to religious persecution in exile. These are all documented. Throughout the exile Tibetan enclaves, there have been grievous injuries, daily harassment and discrimination against those Tibetans who refuse to give up their faith in Shugden, or poor Tibetan families who receive scholarship for their children’s education from Tibetan Lamas in Europe who revere the deity.

These actions contravene more than one section of the Constitution of India, in which the Dalai Lama is a refugee and resident. They contravene more than one clause of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which is his main source of support where the Tibetan people are concerned. To date, neither the Dalai Lama nor his Private Office have deplored these incidents. Why?


The two recent incidents mentioned at the beginning have left about 70-100 Tibetans wounded. These Tibetans do not know each other. Nor do they know why they attacked each other. None of the assailants had any enmity towards each other. This is perhaps the real tragedy. Those who attacked did so believing that they were carrying out the ‘wishes of the Dalai Lama’. Those who resisted the onslaught and retaliated in self-defence, did so to defend their right to freedom of religion, for a life consistent with human rights and dignity.


The Tibetan establishment routinely informs the Union and state Govt. of India that Shugden worshippers are ‘Chinese spies’. On the other hand, all the monks who were attacked at Mundgod on the 10th, all the 20 monks who were beaten without mercy by a 600-strong Tibetan mob at Bylakuppe on the 12th, are Tibetans who had recently escaped from Chinese rule. None of them have any connection with the Chinese government. Each of them has escaped Tibet, given up their family and relatives in Tibet, to live in freedom, to live a life with human dignity, in exile.

This incident has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that even though Shugden devotees are loyal Tibetans, the Private Office of the Dalai Lama, and some of its lobbyists, is bent upon destroying any Tibetan or Tibetan monastery or Tibetan individual who disagrees with him – at any cost, under any pretext, even if this means misrepresenting facts to governments and Tibetan supporters abroad.


On the 14th, the Dorje Shugden Society called on the Union Home Minister to apprise the Government of the situation and to seek a full inquiry into the incidents and their origin. The Government is concerned for unity among Tibetans.

The Tibetan exile administration is completely dominated by the Private Office of the Dalai Lama and its lobbyists. More than four decades have passed since the exile Tibetan administration came into existence. But the Tibetan exile community has no independent Judiciary, no independent press and no opposition party.


Tibetans who worship Lord Shugden, share in the grief of all those Tibetans who suffered in these two incidents. They deplore this violence. Knowingly or unknowingly, the Dalai Lama is creating permanent division among his own people based on religious faith and ideological convictions. The price for this divisive policy will be exacted from future Tibetans yet to be born. The Dalai Lama’s so-called ‘supporters’ are seeking to rule even the conscience of each and every one who is born a Tibetan. The respected leader, bearing the entire weight of his exiled people and his international commitments, is too distracted to notice this dangerous trend.

The two recent incidents in Mundgod and Bylakuppe are just the tip of this dangerous iceberg.

The Private Office of the Dalai Lama is the whole cause of these two incidents. The local Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Tibetan Youth Congress, who masterminded the incident in Mundgod, are staffed with educated Tibetans. Their mandate does not permit infringement of anyone’s religious and human rights. Hence, unless insisted in the name of the Dalai Lama, they would not commission such a step on their own. Furthermore, the Private Office has created, for political purposes, the present religious controversy. It has consistently sustained this controversy by giving inducements of favors, high offices, titles, immigration or postings in Western countries, and money to any abbot, Tibetan petty official, or monastery or Buddhist centre who helps to support this controversial religious policy.

Till these questionable methods stop, those close to the sun may enjoy a sunny life but the average common Tibetan will continue to suffer in anguish and remain torn between their native Tibetan values of honesty and political deception being continuously espoused in their leader’s name. We would like to clarify that except for this religious ban, Shugden devotees have no quarrel or any political objectives against either the Dalai Lama or his Private Office. But till such time as the Dalai Lama clarifies his stand on these two incidents, and starts working for uniting the Tibetans on the basis of truth, honesty, and Buddhist and ancient Indian values of religious diversity and tolerance, till that time, with all due respect for him as a great spiritual master, we will not accept him as our religious leader any more.

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  1. There were two incidents of clashes. One in an hour long clash in Mundgod which resulted in the people getting wounded and hospitalised. The other clash incident is in Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe a Tibetan Refugee Settlement which had also left a lot of people wounded and hospitalised. In both these two clashes that went out of control and the police were not able to do anything. The Government had no choice but to impose a curfew. The protesters targeted at a 2 day prayer session of 70 people monks and nuns who are Dorje Shugden worshippers. And Tibetans who are above 18 years of age are asked to join in the protest or they will be fined if they are found not participating. Some of the protesters don’t even know the reason of the protest and why they are involved in the clash.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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