Days after former Ladakh Buddhist Association president Tsewang Thinles was booked by the Jammu and Kashmir police for the alleged sexual harassment of a minor, a second complainant has approached the Ladakh district administration, also alleging harassment by him.
Based on the complaint of the minor, the J&K police filed an FIR on July 1 in Leh, booking Thinles under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 354 of the RPC, Leh SSP Sargun Shukla told The Indian Express. “We have registered an FIR and started investigations. The accused is absconding,” Shukla said.
The minor had approached the Ladakh Student’s Welfare Society Delhi (LSWSD) before reaching out to the police to file a complaint. “She… told us that she had been repeatedly assaulted by the LBA president and we helped her file this complaint,” LSWSD president Jigmat Paljor said.
The second complainant, in an email sent to Leh Deputy Commissioner Anvy Lavasa, has detailed two incidents from May 17 and May 21, when she approached Thinles to interview him for a research project she is pursuing.
One one occasion, the complainant said, Thinles “squeezed me completely into his arms and kissed me hard on my cheek”, while on the second occasion, he “kept touching my hands and squeezed my cheeks while he was driving”.
The LBA, meanwhile, has expelled Thinles from the post of president.
P T Kunzang, the vice-president of the association who has now taken charge of the top post, told The Indian Express, “The students first approached us on June 23 with this complaint but we told them that we would need to meet the girl. They refused stating that the law required the complainant to remain anonymous. Subsequently they went to the police and we expelled Thinles as president of the LBA.”
The LBA is a socio-political group that works towards “safeguarding the interests” Buddhists living in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Thinles and the association were at the centre of a communal flare up in the Ladakh region in 2017, after the LBA held a rally in Leh and issued an ultimatum for Muslims in Kargil to leave town over the marriage of a Buddhist woman from Leh to a Muslim man from Kargil.