Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday had an emotional reunion with one of the five Assam Rifles guards who escorted him to India during his escape from Tibet in March 1959.
The Dalai Lama embraced retired jawan Naren Chandra Das at an interactive session at the ‘Namami Brahmaputra’ River festival organised by the Assam government here.
“Thank you very much.... I am very very happy to meet such an old member of the Assam Rifles who guarded and escorted me to India 58 years ago,” a visibly emotional Dalai Lama said.
Dressed in his Assam Rifles uniform, 76-year-old Das, later told PTI that he had escorted the Dalai Lama as his armed guard in 1959, two years after joining the force in 1957.
He was then posted at Lungla near the China border after having completed his training at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, he said.
“Guards of the Assam Rifles Platoon no. 9 had brought the Dalai Lama from Zuthangbo and handed him over to five of us at Shakti. We brought him to Lungla from where he was escorted on his onward journey to Tawang by another group of guards,” the retired jawan said.
Asked if he had any interaction with the Dalai Lama during that journey, Mr. Das said the troops were not allowed to talk or interact with him. “Our duty was only to guard and escort him during his journey.” He said he was overwhelmed by the warmth of the Dalai Lama’s embrace.
The Dalai Lama also presented a silk shawl to the guard.
Assam Rifles Director General Lt. Gen. Shokin Chouhan was also present on the occasion.