Lawless CRO ruling Sonamling Settlement in Ladakh

On 8 June 2019 here in Ladakh Sonamling Hall I have witnessed something which is beyond my imagination. I am still in shock and everything seems like a bad dream to me. But unfortunately it all happened in reality.

I have seen someone doing the worst thing which somebody can do to the beautiful gift awarded to us by HH The 14th Dalai Lama Called “Democracy”. The Sonamling settlement officer Mr Aaten, in front of all the Tibetan people, killed the value of democracy, he butchered the honour of a simple teacher, and most importantly shook and hurt the integrity of every educated Tibetan who came to listen to him. He also cut the sentiments of many teachers and staff who works in TCV into pieces. Every Staff of TCV who were present at that meeting felt the same.

It was all related to an article published in Tibet Times (བོད་ཀྱི་དུས་བབ་) called “TCV decision is right” (བོད་ཁྱིམ་ཐག་གཅོད་འགྲིག་རེད་།), written by a very fine Tibetan teacher named Gyurmey Tsering of TCV Ladakh. This article was related to a Rs 200 collection from parents as a contribution towards their child’s education and safety. While all other TCV schools followed this decision smoothly, here in Ladakh only Tibetan people (not local student parents) looked at this decision suspiciously and took up their concern before Aaten.

TCV had no problem with that, but the way in which he and the Group Leaders handled this case is really sad and shameful. He called a public meeting in this regard and delivered the message of the TCV heads in such a rude way that some people stood up and started talking nonsense about TCV Ladakh, instigating the public against it. Aaten did not try to stop this, which was totally unrelated to the Rs 200 collection. (We have video proof at Nyamdel office if needed.)

This meeting really hurt the sentiments of all staff who work in TCV, and they unanimously very strongly gave suggestions in this regard. Some of our MC members went to CRO office and told Aaten how all the staff of TCV were hurt by the public meeting. At that time Aaten agreed to do a clarification to all our staff and also gave a date i.e. 26th May, but he cancelled that meeting at the last minute giving some silly reason. Saddened by this incident, Gen Gyurmey la wrote this article to open up the eyes of each one of us. So slowly people started believing in the TCV decision and volunteered to contribute Rs 200.

As now Aaten was left with no case to satisfy his ego, he brought up this case of the Tibet Times article in front of people. He held the meeting for four days with group leaders to discuss this article (Aaten himself said so in the public meeting) and to pick out words or sentences from this article which favours them. On the fifth day on 6th June at 2:10 pm he send the message through his peon to Gen Gyurmey Tsering to present before him and group leaders for clarification about things which he wrote in his article.

Genla refused to present before him and group leaders, saying that he didn’t think he had done anything wrong, and if needed will explain all his articles in front of the general public only. Then Aaten called up the school principal to bring Gen Gyurmey with two MC members in his office. The Principal and MC members also refused to do the same, as this article was all Gen Gyurmey’s viewpoints and TCV has nothing to do with it.

Then they sent the message to Gen Gyurmey Tsering to attend the meeting with general public on 8th June 2019 at 10 am in Sonamling hall. In the summoned letter from Settlement Office it was very clearly written that the CRO office is giving the chance to Mr Gyurmey to clarify his article. Through this meeting many people were actually expecting that Aaten will bring an end to this issue and will close it peacefully. But to our surprise he flamed this issue more and gave such an instigating speech which we usually see either in movies or in political debate.

He started his speech in a very shameful manner and didn’t keep the dignity of being CRO of Sonamling settlement. There was no one to host the meeting, he himself was a one-man army. He talked almost for one and half hour, targeting Gen Gyurmey Tsering from every corner. First he raised the issue of land selling and buying problems of Sonamling settlement and blamed Gen Gyurmey Tsering for it. In his speech he said that “People, do you know why you are not allowed to sell your land to Locals here, it’s all because of Gen Gyurmey Tsering, he wrote an article in Tibet Times last year which brings the notice of CTA and Hill Council Ladakh into it.” He said these things in such a disgraceful manner that even the most ignorant public got heated up. (What has that article to do with today’s meeting, isn’t it politics.) He also added “When I read this article I didn’t feel angry, not sad, and hurt. Do you know what I felt of this writer, lowest level human being མི་་ཐ་ཤལ་་). He didn’t stop here he also dragged in all his family members.

Gen Gyurmey la listened to him very patiently and controlled his anger and emotions at that time with the belief that everything would be alright when he will get his chance. But when he got his chance, hardly after 10 minutes Aaten started interrupting him by saying that must be short and stick to the question they have asked. But Gen Gyurme Tsering very patiently kept explaining his things, with many interruptions from Aaten, his supporters, staff and Gyurmey supporters. Finally CRO Aaten dismissed the meeting.

Then all people stood up and left but TCV teachers and staff with some public requested Gen Gyurmey to continue his speech. Some people said, “Speak up Gen Gyurmey la we want to listen to you.” But here again CRO staff took away the mike from them and that also very rudely.

After this all teachers and staff held a meeting with MC members and expressed all their feelings, everyone cried at that time even school principal Mr Lhundup Namgyal who taught our CRO maths when we were eating tingmo and dal of TCV Ladakh. (Which he can’t remember or feel these days.)

TCV Staff with their MC members had meetings in their school Junior Hall for almost two days, and all teachers and staff are still silent only because of principal sir. He requested all TCV staff to remain calm and patient in such a situation and not to create such environment which will affect the dignity of this esteemed institution. Moreover in a few days TCV Ladakh has a CBSE inspection related to school affiliation. Otherwise all staff unanimously decided to do either mass resignation or pen down movement against CRO, Which I think they will definitely do if Aaten failed to resolve this issue peacefully and without hurting the sentiments of TCV staff again.

I am still shocked to see that a CRO whom we considered representative of HH The Dalai Lama can disgrace democracy in such a way. How can he kill the honour of TCV from where he learned everything. As conclusion I can only say that the 8th June meeting which was called by CRO and group leaders was all fixed to satisfy their ego which is wrong, Totally wrong …

Tenzin Sonam
LADAKH, India

13 June 2019

Copyright © 2019 Tenzin Sonam

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily that of Tibet Sun