Militants behind monks'' killing?
13 July 2000
Srinagar: Indefinite curfew was clamped in Leh town and 11 villages of the Ladakh region late last night after three monks, including the head of Rangdoom Gompa, Tashi Motup, were killed by unidentified gunmen in the Zanskar area. According to Dr. Ashok Bhan, IGP, Kashmir zone, the three monks, out of a group of four, were killed on the Kargil- Zanskar road near Rangdoom village, about 380 km from Srinagar, late on Tuesday night. They were going to Kargil and tried to get a lift from a passing truck when gunmen travelling in it opened fire and shot them dead. The surviving monk ran away and informed the police. Dr. Bhan said, ''it appears the gunmen were militants and might have come from Kishtwar in Doda, connected with Kargil on one side.'' Meanwhile, the State Finance Minister, Mr. A. R. Rather, accompanied by the Kashmir Divisional Commissioner, Mr. Khursheed Ganai, reached Leh on Wednesday to defuse the tension triggered by the ''blasphemous remarks'' against the Holy Quran by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) vice-president, Mr. Sonam Gombo. The Minister convened a meeting of Muslim and Buddhist leaders in an effort to clear the misunderstandings. The meeting was attended among others by Mr. Kaushak Bakola, Mr. Thpstan Chhewang and the LBA president, Mr. Tsering Samphel. When contacted Mr. Samphel said Mr. Gombo had already apologised for the remarks and resigned as the LBA vice- president.