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China denies killing of monks by police

Source: PTI
July 23, 2008 16:15 IST
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Taking strong exception to a media report that two monks of a temple in a Tibetan-inhabited region were shot dead by the police during a recent clash, China on Wednesday said they died in a blast at a monastery where an explosive material for Buddhist rituals was stored.

Investigations showed there was no clash between monks and the armed police on July 12 in temples throughout the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, an official of south-west China's Sichuan province said.

The official dismissed as "fabricated" the report in London-based paper The Times, that two monks at a temple in Garze in Sichuan province were shot dead by police.

Two monks at Gonchen monastery in Derge county did die in Garze, but were not shot dead by armed police over a dispute with officials as the British newspaper reported, claiming China had imposed a blackout over the deaths, he said.

"A blast occurred in the northern part of Gonchen monastery on July 12 when six monks were having lunch and, two of them, whose identities are now known, died of injuries later," Xinhua news agency quoted an unnamed official of the information office of Sichuan provincial government as saying.

The explosion was caused after sparks from a short-circuit in a worn-out electrical wire ignited black powder stored in the monastery, the official said.

The temple had violated the safety rules by storing 716 kg of black powder used periodically in Buddhist rituals, it said.

The remaining black powder and 29 guns used for Buddhist ceremonies were handed over to the county explosive warehouse and the public security authorities.

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