An article posted on the christianpost.com site said that a Dungpa (sub divisional officer) Pema Wangdi manhandled an independent Christian Pastor Pema Sherpa on July 30.
This has however turned out to be a lie after The Bhutanese conversed with both the parties and eye witnesses.
The recent border quandaries had prohibited people residing in border areas especially in Sarpang from conducting meetings and gatherings for the security reasons.
In this regard the Gelephu Dungkhag office had disseminated public notifications not to conduct any kind of meetings. And for emergency purposes it should be approved by the administration.
However on July 30 the Dungpa received a report from the Gup saying that four Christian pastors with 35 cohorts each had gathered for a religious ceremony in Gelephu.
After receiving the information, the Dungpa visited the site and tried to convince the pastors with the valid points. Pastor Kinga and Rajesh Sangrula apologized and said that they will conduct religious meetings only within their families and left the site.
However the two other pastors Ganga Bdr. Rai and Pema Sherpa could not be convinced.
“If anyone wants to conduct such huge gatherings, they should first get approval from the Administration.” Gelephu Dungpa, Pema Wangdi said. “They violated the notification from the government.”
He said Pema Sherpa declined to end the ceremony and said that the Dungpa can ‘report it to anyone’.
“The Christian post has exaggerated the incident and I did not even mention anything about the religion,” the Dungpa said.
Contrarily the pastor said the Dungpa grabbed him by the chest and threatened him with his Patang (ceremonial sword).
“I don’t see any harm in organizing such religious gatherings,” Pastor Pema Sherpa said in a phone interview. He said the Dungpa did not mention anything about the religion but asked him to dismiss the crowd.
Pastor Pema Sherpa said he was aware of the ‘notification’ but the gathering was a religious one, and everyone has the right to practice religions of their choice.
“Therefore I could not digest what the Dungpa told me,” he said.
Dungpa Pema Wangdi said when he was trying to wear his patang the pastor might have mistaken it as an attempt to use it on him.
The incident was also witnessed by some local government officials.
“They only exchanged words and I did not see the Dungpa hitting Pema Sherpa,” said Gelephu Gup Tashi who was present at the site.
According to the Dungpa the security and safety of the public has become a priority after the recent unfortunate incident in which a Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) soldier was ambushed by armed assailants.
Pastor Pema Sherpa has submitted a letter of apology in which he stated that he will not repeat such a thing again.