Alleged Tibetan couple held for stealing a rare 900 year old Buddhist statue from Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. Delhi police arrested a couple alleging to be of Tibetan origin from Majnu Ka Tilla in North Delhi with the possession of the 12th century idol of Tibetan saint Pema Lingpa belonging to Sangyeling Gompa, a monastery in Tawang on Sunday.
“The Delhi Police on Sunday tracked down a 900-year-old idol of Tibetan saint Pema Lingpa to the capital’s Majnu Ka Tilla area and arrested a couple suspected of stealing the statue from Arunachal Pradesh less than a week ago.” said the report in Hindustan Times.
“It was on Sunday that a crime branch team received information that some people were trying to sell an ancient idol in Majnu Ka Tila and thereafter the idol would be smuggled into Tibet. The informant stated that a Tibetan couple was involved in the theft of the idol, and they would come near a Gurudwara in Majnu Ka Tila around 8 am. Following this, the team laid a trap and the duo was arrested,” said Madhur Verma, DCP (Crime).
The couple, Mr. Ngawang Tsundue, 29 and Ms. Lobsang Gakey Sherpa, 26 were planning to sell the idol at a price of 1.4 cr. rupees at Majnu Ka Tilla in New Delhi. During interrogation, Tsundue disclosed that he was a permanent resident of Tibet and had come to India in 2009-2010, when he started living in Dharamshala. It was revealed in the interrogation that Tsundue was actually married to the daughter of Head Cheepa (Head Lama) of Sangyeling Monastery in 2011 but they got divorced. He stole the idol to take revenge from the family.
“In order to take revenge with Head Cheepa’s family, Tsundue decided to steal the idol for monetary gain and also to defame the head Cheepa. He also roped in Sherpa, who was his live in live-in partner, in the crime. Around 10-15 days back he went to Tawang and broke into the house of the Head Cheepa and stole the idol. He then came to Delhi where he was trying to sell it in the grey markets. Arunachal Pradesh Police have been informed about the recovery and arrest,” the DCP said.
It is reported that the recovery of the idol comes to a great relief as the theft of the Buddhist statue provoked unrest in the state.