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Tibetan couple held for trying to sell stolen ancient Buddhist idol

Idol of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist master Terton Pema Lingpa.
Idol of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist master Terton Pema Lingpa.

(TibetanReview.net, Jun07, 2017) – A couple, described as Tibetan, was held on Jun 5 in north Delhi’s Majnu-Ka-Tilla area while trying to sell a reportedly 900-year-old idol they had allegedly stolen from a Buddhist temple in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh.

The couple was reported to have come to sell the stolen idol – that of ancient Tibetan Buddhist master Terton Pema Lingpa – to a prospective buyer for Rs 14 million (around US$ 225,000) near a Gurudwara in the Majnu-Ka-Tilla area.

Indian media reports cited police as saying the couple — Ngawang Tsundue, 29, and his live-in partner Lobsang Gakey Sherpa, 26 — were arrested around 10.30 AM by a team of Crime Branch officers of the Delhi Police on a tip-off by a devotee who was said to have pretended to be interested to buy the idol in order to find out its genuineness.

Tsundue was reported to have stolen the idol on the intervening night of May 31 and Jun 1 from the home of the head of the Sangyeling Gompa in Tawang and brought it to Delhi to sell it. He had married the head’s daughter in 2011 after meeting her in Dharamshala but the marriage ended in a divorce and bitter acrimony. He then stole the idol to get back at the head lama and also to make money for himself.

Tsundue was reported to have told police that he was a permanent resident of Tibet, had come to India in 2009, and started living in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Sherpa is said to be a resident in the Punjabi Basti of Majnu-Ka-Tilla area.

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