Chakma children promised free education, continues to stay in Bengaluru shelter homes

[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Dec 3: Chakma children who were taken to Bengaluru with promise of free education by Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School, Hunsur are still in two shelter homes. Of the 26 children, three are girls.
17 boys are from Dumpathar, Mudoidweep, Jyotipur, Udoipur and Devapuri in Changlang district. The three girls who were sent to Mysore on a “visit” by their parents are from Bijoypur-III village, Changlang.
Five children, all boys are from Chakma village -III from Namsai district while one is from Kokila village, Papum Pare.
The children including the three girls are currently under the protection of Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Bangalore-1 (urban) after they were intercepted from Bangalore Railway station on Nov 25.
The Childline team, Bangalore Railway Station rescued the children who were travelling with Pema Tsering.
Nine children were travelling without tickets, which alarmed the railway police leading to interception by the Childline team. The children are all below 14 years. The youngest is a four-year-old boy.
The children were being taken to Hunsur Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School (Gyudmed Tantric University) by Pema Tsering, a Tibetan from Mysore, who the parents says is an agent who take children to various Tibetan monastic schools for free education.
Meanwhile, the Secretary, Women and child welfare department Niharika Rai has written to the Deputy Commissioners of Papum Pare and Namsai for prompt action.
The letter says that children, 26 of them had intended to join Gyudmed Tantric University Society, Hunsur to pursue Buddhist studies as well as modern education.
However, according to the website Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School teaches Philosophy, Ritual lessons, Sand and Wooden Mandalas, Butter Sculptures, Computer class, and three language studies of Tibetan, English and Chinese.
According to the website, “Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School was founded 1982. The school is running well and today there are more than 400 monk students in the school”.
Most of the parents this reporter spoke to said that they were not aware that children were being taken to Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School to train them as future monks.
They said that they sent the children to Honsur for free education but they had no idea which school.
A father of one of the girl child said that he wants her back home but he has no source or money to bring back the child. The parent sought the help of the govt of Arunachal to bring back all the girls. The parents of the girls gave a statement to the authorities saying that they want the children to stay with Pema Tsering and his wife Donita Chakma from Bijoypur-III in Changlang district.
A source said that Pema Tsering has refused to take the girls with him. Despite repeated attempts, this reporter was unable to contact Pema Tsering or his wife.
The parents of the children in their written statement to the EAC, Diyun and Child welfare committee, Changlang said that they gave the consent and that children were handed over to Hudukya Chakma of Mudoidweep village. He reportedly sent the children to Pema Tsering. Chakma is currently in Rajasthan.
The officials of CWC, Bangalore said that principal of the Gyudmed Monastic School had met them and sought the release of the students from the shelter homes. This daily could not reach the Principal of the school.
Questionably, the written statement of consent of the parents were given only after CWC, Bengaluru raised the alarm and informed the department of women and child welfare, Arunachal Pradesh.
Jongtu Tangha, CWC Chairperson Changlang said that he met the parents of children from Miao circle and all relevant papers have been sent to the CWC Bangalore for further steps.
When contacted Kani Nada Maling, chairperson of CWC, Capital Complex said that she received a letter from district child protection unit, Papum Pare on Tuesday afternoon and that the case will be taken up on Wednesday.
Even as the some parents of Chakma children from Changlang have given their written consent after the CWC, Bengaluru raised the alarm; the larger question is why the parents were not given the prior information that the children were being taken to Hunsur for Tibetan monastic studies.
The Chakmas and Tibetans, both refugee communities in Arunachal follow two different schools of Buddhism.
The Chakmas follow the Therevada school of Buddhism while the Gyudmed Tantric Monastic School is for Tibetan or Mahayana Buddhism.