Government’s discomfort was ‘conveyed’ to Tibetan leadership on Dalai Lama events in Delhi

The Dalai Lama  

India’s Tibetan refugee community cancelled two major events in Delhi planned to mark the 60th anniversary year of the Dalai Lama’s escape to India, after the Central government’s discomfort was “conveyed” to its leadership in Dharamshala.

The Hindu had reported on March 2 that an inter-faith meeting at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat on March 31 had been cancelled.

“His Holiness is not expected to be in Delhi on March 31, and therefore the inter-religious event planned at the Gandhi memorial will not be held,” Sonam Norbu Dagpo, secretary of International Relations in the Department of Information and International Relations of the “Tibetan government-in exile” had told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, a massive rally at Delhi’s Thyagaraja Stadium on April 1, which was also due to be attended by the Dalai Lama, has now been moved to Dharamshala, where the Tibetan leadership is based.

“There was no direct message from the government to call off the commemorations, but it was conveyed to our leadership that perhaps these events should not be held in Delhi,” said Tsering Dhondup, spokesperson of the Dalai Lama’s Bureau, confirming the cancellations.

Last week, the Indian Express reported on a note allegedly sent out by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha that directed officials and ministers to avoid taking part in events related to the 60th year commemoration in view of a “very sensitive time” in relations with China. The MEA and the government have declined to comment on the note, which was reportedly sent at the insistence of Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

However, the MEA said in a statement on March 2 that there was “no change in India’s position” on the Dalai Lama and “His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India.”

As The Hindu has reported, March will see visits by two senior Chinese ministerial delegations, while a high-level meeting between New Delhi and Beijing is also expected shortly, as both sides work to restore ties after the 73-day Doklam standoff and other issues they faced in 2017.

The Tibetan representatives confirmed, however, that other commemorative events, including the “Bharat Jagran Yatra” of Tibetan Youth Congress processions thanking India for its hospitality to the refugees as well as “raising awareness for the Tibetan cause” that are going out from Dharamshala, Chennai and Salaugara in West Bengal, to 150 towns and cities across the country, will go ahead as planned.

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The name of the spokesperson of the Dalai Lama’s Bureau has been corrected

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 5:39:45 AM |

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